The South African Women’s rugby team launched a great second-half comeback but it was not enough to overcome Wales, who won this Women’s Rugby World Cup play-off match for ninth place 29-17 at Guildford in England.
Wales led 17-0 at halftime, scoring two quick tries just before the break when South Africa had two players off the field with yellow cards. The Welsh then effectively took the match away from South Africa when left wing Mared Evans scored straight from the restart to increase the score to 24-0.
For South Africa, captain Mandisa Williams and fly half Zenay Jordaan shouldered on bravely despite their troublesome ankle injuries while winger Phumeza Gadu was a constant danger with her exciting runs down the left wing.
Nineteen year-old Jordaan showed again great commitment in the tackle and she deservedly scored her team’s team first try after ten minutes of play in the second half. Rhian Bowden (hooker) then stretched the Welsh lead with their fifth try of the match. South Africa then launched their comeback, scoring two tries through Gadu.
Captain Mandisa Williams conceded afterwards that they made too many unforced errors in the first half which allowed Wales to dominate all aspects of the match.
“We had a terrible first half. Our discipline was not good and we paid for that with two yellow cards, while defensive lapses also allowed them two tries that could have been prevented,” said Williams.
She added though that the experience gained from this tournament was of great value to the team, who was on average the youngest squad at the WRWC. “We had many youngsters who played in their first World Cup and they learnt a lot by playing against top sides like New Zealand and Australia.”
Denver Wannies, SA Women’s team coach, said he was disappointed that the team did not end the tournament on a winning note. “Wales capitalised on our mistakes, especially in the first half. We did not show enough protection of the ball. Our discipline was also not good and Wales took advantage of that when we had two players in the sin bin.”
The SA Women might have failed to win their third World Cup match, but the team can still be proud of their overall performance this year. The team has won six of their nine international matches for the season and many pundits at the WRWC have praised them as the most improved team of the tournament.
The teams leave for home tomorrow and South Africa will arrive at just after 7am on Tuesday morning in Johannesburg.
Wales: Tries – Naomi Thomas (2), Mared Evans (2), Rhian Bowden 1; Conversions – Awen Thomas (2).
South Africa: Tries – Zenay Jordaan, Phumeza Gadu (2); Conversion: Yolanda Meiring
Issued by SARU Communications