7 July 2014
The Springbok Women’s rugby team ended their pre-World Cup tour on a downer on Friday when they fell to a heavy 8-46 defeat to Six Nations champions and World Cup hosts, France, in Marcoussis.
“France showed today why they are the Six Nations champions and we will certainly take lessons from this match as we continue our preparations for the World Cup,” Springbok Women’s coach Lawrence Sephaka said after the game.
“When the team started backing themselves in the second half they had a few great attacking moments and showed a willingness to put their bodies on the line on defence.
‘Great for us’
Assessing the value of the tour, which also included two hard-fought wins over the Nomads in England, Sephaka added: “This tour was great for us because the players now know what to expect at the World Cup and they are also familiar with Marcoussis where all our pool matches will be played.
“This experience was invaluable and we hope the team will take the positives from the tour and become a stronger unit going forward.”
Sephaka’s charges had a slow start to the match as France used their powerful forwards to force their way onto the front foot, which resulted in the visitors defending for most of the half.
The team, however, showed positive signs on attack when their backline received the ball at pace, and they made a handful of big tackles on defence.
However, those efforts were not enough to counter the strong French forwards, especially close to the South African tryline, with number eight Sati N’Diaye and flank Koumiba Djossouvi scoring tries from set scrums.
France’s skilful backs also made their presence felt in the first half, drawing in defenders well before exploiting the gaps they had created, which resulted in tries for fullback Jesse Tremouliere, centre Elodie Poublan and wing Marion Lievre.
French flyhalf Christelle Leduff added a penalty to take their score for the half to 34 points. In return the Springbok Women scored a penalty by debutante fullback Cindy Cant.
In the second half, South Africa stepped up their game, showed more grunt on defence and adopted a more direct approach on attack. Unfortunately a yellow card shown to prop Portia Jonga for infringing at a breakdown close to the tryline reduced the visitors to 14 players for 10 minutes.
This allowed the hosts to score yet another try by replacement hooker Gaelle Mignot to extend their lead.
The visitors, however, showed their fighting spirit as debutante looseforward Shona- Leah Weston, lock Nolusindiso Booi and centres Veroeshka Grain and Lorinda Brown made a series of line breaks to boost their confidence and momentum, but the team was unable to convert those opportunities into points.
South African try
The pressure on attack eventually paid off with a well-worked try by flyhalf Zenay Jordaan in the final quarter, after she performed a well-executed switch with captain Lamla Momoti and held off a defender to place the ball over the tryline.
France, however, had the last say as they worked their way into the Springbok Women’s half for another forward-dominated try two minutes from the end.