The SA U19s ground out a 28-21 victory against Georgia U19 at the Shevardeni Rugby Stadium in Tbilisi on Monday.
The South Africans won despite receiving three yellow cards, which saw them play with 14 men for 30 minutes.
The hosts led 18-14 at half-time, with the visitors scoring two converted tries through Werner Gouws and Zwelendaba Mnombo.
But SA U19 scored two unanswered second-half tries, via captain JJ Kotze and Bernard van der Linde, while restricting their opponents to a solitary penalty goal, to secure the win.
‘It was a tough game, especially in the windy and cold conditions, which the players are not used to,’ said coach Chean Roux. ‘But our defence held well, and we managed to keep them out over several phases.
‘That said, the score wasn’t the most important aspect of the match for us, it was more the opportunity to assess the players and to get to know them better under tough circumstances. And it certainly says a lot about their character.’
The second match between the teams will take place on Thursday.
Georgia U19 – Tries: Saba Kuratashvili, Giorgi Margaltadze. Conversion: Lasha Lomidze. Penalty Goals: Lasha Lomidze (3).
SA U19 – Tries: Werner Gouws, Zwelendaba Mnombo, JJ Kotze, Bernard van der Linde. Conversions: Jaden Hendrikse (2), Juan Mostert (2).
SA U19 – 15 Cohen Jasper (Free State), 14 Muzi Manyike (Golden Lions), 13 Zwelendaba Mnombo (Western Province), 12 Dawid Kellerman (Blue Bulls), 11 Stravino Jacobs (Blue Bulls), 10 Juan Mostert (Western Province), 9 Jaden Hendrikse (Sharks), 8 Willem Steenkamp (Blue Bulls), 7 Werner Gouws (Blue Bulls), 6 Lindo Ncusane (Golden Lions), 5 Adrian Alberts (Golden Lions), 4 Lunga Ncube (Sharks), 3 Hanro Jacobs (Sharks), 2 JJ Kotze (c, Western Province), 1 Thabiso Mdletshe (Sharks).
Subs: 16 Jason Alexander (Western Province), 17 Benele Mthenjane (Golden Lions), 18 Siphekahle Dube (Sharks), 19 Werner Coetzee, Sharks), 20 Thomas Bursey (Western Province), 21 Ethan Wentzel (Valke), 22 Dylan de Leeuw (Western Province), 23 Morne Brandon (Golden Lions), 24 Dewald Donald (Blue Bulls), 25 Thabo Ndimande (Valke), 26 Diego Appollis (Blue Bulls), 27 Keenan Twigg (Leopards), 28 Rynhardt Jonker (Sharks), 29 Bernard van der Linde (Blue Bulls).