The SA Select Women Sevens team showed promise on the opening day of the Hong Kong Invitational on Thursday at the Kings Park Sports Ground in Kowloon, as they defeated Kenya and China to win two of their three matches.
The SA Select Women registered a convincing 32-0 victory against Kenya for an encouraging start to the tournament, but two late tries by Kazakhstan in their second pool match saw them fall short on the scoreboard, losing by 17-7. Coach Renfred Dazel’s team, however, finished the day strongly with a 7-0 victory against China.
Captain Lorinda Brown and her team dominated their clash against Kenya from the outset and delivered a solid performance on attack and defence. This balanced performance allowed them to capitalise on their point-scoring chances, while denying Kenya from earning a single point.
The team continued to show grit on defence against Kazakhstan as they made a concerted effort to make solid one-on-one tackles. A lapse on defence, however, allowed Kazakhstan to score their first try a minute before the break. But a stunning try by veteran SA Select Women’s scrumhalf Mathrin Simmers from a penalty, on the stroke of halftime pushed South Africa 7-5 ahead on the scoreboard.
The second half was tight as both teams struggled to breach the opposition’s defence, but two tries by Kazakhstan in the last 90 seconds earned them a 17-7 victory.
The SA Select Women tightened up their defence in their final match of the day against China and retained possession for long periods, which allowed them to dominate territory and possession throughout the clash.
The SA Select women dominated proceedings from the start and showed promise on attack, but they battled to convert this into points, which saw the teams enter the break scoreless.
They continued to apply pressure in the second half, and their efforts paid off with a try by Nadine Roos, while Zenay Jordaan slotted over the conversion for a 7-0 lead. The South African’s absorbed the pressure applied by China in the dying minutes thanks to their tenacious defence, which allowed them to close off the opening day’s play with a victory.
The team will conclude the pool stages of the tournament in the early hours of Friday morning with a clash against France, which will be followed by the final stages of the competition.
SA Select Women’s day one results, Hong Kong Invitational (Thursday, 7 April):
SA Select 32-0 Kenya
SA Select 7-17 Kazakhstan
SA Select 7-0 China
SA Select Women day-two pool fixture, Hong Kong Invitational (Friday, 8 April):
03h40 (SA time) – SA Select vs France