19 August 2014
The Springbok Women finished tenth at the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in Marcoussis, France on Sunday after a 0-36 defeat to Spain, to match their final position in the 2010 World Cup.
Turnovers, mistakes at crucial times, and missed tackles let South Africa down in the clash, allowing the Spanish to record a comfortable victory.
In the end, the Springbok Women recorded a sole narrow win, 25-24 over Samoa, but were well beaten in their other outings, going down 3-26 to Australia, 3-55 to France, and 3-35 to Wales in pool play.
A bitter pill to swallow
On Monday, coach Lawrence Sephaka told SA Rugby that a repeat of the team’s 2010 World Cup result was a bitter pill to swallow.
“We are very disappointed that we could not improve on our tenth place finish in the tournament, especially since we showed a lot of promise going into the competition,” he said.
“The players knew what to expect after the test against France on the warm-up tour and they accepted the fact that we were drawn in one of the toughest pools. But we made things tough for ourselves throughout the competition by making errors at crucial times and not converting our point-scoring chances into points.
“The most disappointing aspect for us is that there were times when we pinned Australia, Wales and Spain in their own half for long periods and created fantastic try-scoring chances, but we battled to come away with points.”
Pinpointing South Africa’s shortcomings, Sephaka said women’s rugby structures in the country lagged far behind that of the top nations in the tournament and said that development structures in South Africa had to improve in order for the national team to be more competitive.
“The women’s rugby structures in South Africa need to improve drastically for us to compete with the best teams in the world, as their club and provincial structures are much stronger than ours,” he explained.
“Our provincial series features three to seven matches a year per team, which is what some overseas clubs play in a month or two, so we need to start from the bottom to achieve better results at national level.
“We also lack regular top-class competition between World Cups, while the Six Nations teams have that luxury every year.
“So I think it is important to consider such factors when one looks at our results. That said, we will not use this as an excuse as we could have won one or two more matches if we implemented our structures effectively and used our point-scoring chances,” Sephaka concluded.
Sevens World Series
With the World Cup completed, the Springbok Women’s Sevens team will turn their attention to the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series qualifier, which takes place in Hong Kong on 12 and 13 September.
Four places in the World Series are up for grabs at the Shek Kip Mei Stadium.
The other participating nations are Japan, China, Kenya, Brazil, Fiji, Mexico, Hong Kong, France, Netherlands, Portugal and Argentina.