The Springbok Women’s XV on Saturday continued to show significant strides in their preparation for the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in France in August as they thumped the Women’s Interprovincial XV 87-12 in their warm-up match at Ellis Park.
The match marked the final opportunity for the players in both teams to make their mark before the announcement of the 26-member Women’s Rugby World Cup squad in mid-June.
The victory marked the team’s second big win in as many World Cup warm-up games. They registered an overwhelming 45-7 victory in their first clash against the Women’s Interprovincial XV at DHL Newlands two weeks ago.
The Springbok Women’s XV started the clash slowly as handling errors and turnovers combined with a determined effort by the Women’s Interprovincial XV robbed them of valuable momentum in the opening 15 minutes.
The team, however, hit their straps soon after and earned the rewards as they applied pressure on the opposition and stuck to their structure, which allowed right wing Veroeshka Grain and fullback Cindy Cant to cross the tryline in the first 17th minutes for an encouraging 14-0 lead.
Prop Portia Jonga crashed over the tryline for the team’s third try two minutes later as she gathered the ball in space and powered her way through three defenders to increase the score to 21-0.
The Springbok Women suffered a blow shortly after as flyhalf Zenay Jordaan was forced to leave the field in the 30th minute with a calf injury. But this did not disrupt their momentum, as they spread the ball wide which created an overlap for Grain to score her second try.
The Women’s Interprovincial XV hit back shortly before half time with Zandile Nojoko finding a gap in the defence, which she cruised through to earn their first points of the match, but she pushed the conversion wide.
Springbok Women’s XV prop Nwabisa Ngxatu, however, had the final say before the break as she took advantage of an overlap to push their lead to 33-5 at the break. The Bok Women’s XV picked up where they left off after halftime and lifted the tempo of their game, which allowed them to continue their dominance.
Tries by centre Benele Makwezela and replacement scrumhalf Fundiswa Plaatjie kept the scoreboard ticking early in the second half. The match was particularly memorable for Gadu, who added back-to-back tries to secure her hat-trick.
Scrumhalf Tayla Kinsey, meanwhile, slotted over 10 conversions for a personal contribution of 20 points.
Despite having the victory wrapped up the team fought until the end, with lock Nomathamsanqa Faleni touching down their 12th and final try minutes before the final whistle to take their score to an impressive 87.
In return, the Women’s Interprovincial XV managed only two tries and one conversion by Nojoko in the 80 minutes.
The Springbok Women’s Rugby World Cup squad will be announced in mid-June. They will gather in Pretoria for a one-week training camp followed by a warm-up tour to London and France, which will feature two matches against the Nomads and one against France.
This will be followed by the Women’s Rugby World Cup in France from August 1 to 17.
Springbok Women’s XV 87 (33): Tries: Veroeshka Grain (2), Cindy Cant, Portia Jonga, Nwabisa Ngxatu, Benele Makwezela, Fundiswa Plaatjie (2), Phumeza Gadu (3), Nomathamsanqa Faleni. Conversions: Tayla Kinsey (10).
Women’s Interprovincial XV 12 (5): Tries: Zandile Nojoko (2). Conversion: Nojoko.