Springbok Women’s coach Lawrence Sephaka on Wednesday challenged his team to play to their potential in their final Women’s Rugby World Cup pool game against Wales after letting themselves down against hosts France on Tuesday.
A series of errors at crucial times, their inability to do the basics right and a dominant performance by the French pack came at the cost of a heavy 55-3 defeat and the team’s second loss of the competition.
With only one pool match remaining against Wales on Saturday Sephaka said his team had to rise to the challenge and play to their potential to keep alive their hopes of improving on their 10th place finish in the last World Cup.
“We are very disappointed about our performance against France,” said Sephaka. “We let ourselves and the country down, but I am challenging the players to lift their performance significantly against Wales. We are a much better team than the performance we delivered against France, and it is their responsibility to prove that. That said we cannot ignore the fact that France are the Six Nations champions and that they won the competition convincingly with a grand slam. The northern hemisphere teams also play more regularly than us thanks to the Six Nations, which is a luxury we do not have. But we will not hide from the fact that our performance was substandard.”
With two physical matches in five days taking its toll on the players physically, Sephaka said they would have a series of video and planning sessions throughout the day to prepare for the next match.
“The women’s season is very short in South Africa and the players are not exposed to such short turnaround times in the provincial season, so we have to give them time off the field to recover,” said Sephaka. “So we will have video sessions today and take to the training field again tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, the appeal against captain Mandisa Williams’ suspension has been lodged. The appeal is expected to be heard on Friday.