Springbok Women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer praised his team’s character despite suffering a 38-15 defeat in their series decider against Scotland at the City Park Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday, where they were outscored six tries to two.
Scotland made better use of their chances in the first half and crossed the tryline three times, while the Springbok Women were only able to score a penalty goal, which saw them enter the break 19-3 down.
The second half was competitive as Scotland added three tries – the last of which was on the stroke of fulltime – while the Springbok Women touched down twice.
“The result is obviously disappointing, but I am satisfied with the performance and the character the team showed,” said Raubenheimer. “We competed well, our defence was a little better than Monday, although a few errors there once again cost us, and some of the young players came though nicely. We did, however, give away 21 points, which we are not happy about.
“That said, I was particularly impressed with the way the team fought and got better as the match progressed, so it was a good step-up from our last match.
“We learned some good lessons as a team in the last three Tests, and that will bode well for us in the future.”
Commenting on the young talent coming through the ranks, Raubenheimer said: “Our main goal with the Test matches we played this year was to try to build a group of players that we could work with going forward to the 2021 Rugby World Cup.
“Six players who played against Scotland today were Under-20 players, and some of them did well, while others now have a good idea of the demands of Test rugby, which is all part of the learning process.”
Scotland No 8 Jade Konkel scored the first points of the match in the 10th minute after some good forward play close to the line, and Sarah Law (flyhalf) kicked the conversion to hand them a 7-0 lead.
The Springbok Women hit back with some good phases on attack and they managed to work their way close to the tryline minutes later, but a knock-on denied them from capitalising on the opportunity.
Scotland, in turn, crossed the tryline for the second time early in the second quarter thanks to Lisa Thomson (centre), and Konkel followed this up with her second try from more determined play close to the tryline to stretch their lead to 19-0.
The Springbok Women fought until the halftime hooter, and worked their way close to the tryline once again, but they settled for a penalty goal, which saw them enter the break 19-3 down.
The visitors came out firing in the second half with Abi Evans navigating her way through a gap in the defence in the opening exchanges, but the Springbok Women cancelled this out in the 49th minute as Aphiwe Ngwevu (replacement centre) scored their first try of the match from a pick-and-go. The successful conversion by Tayla Kinsey (replacement scrumhalf) took their score to 10 points.
Scotland winger Rhona Lloyd, however, increased their lead on the scoreboard minutes later, using her raw pace to dash through the defence for the team’s fifth try, but again the Springbok Women hit back with hard-running replacement No 8, Aseza Hele, powering her way through the defence after some good forward play.
The hosts continued to fight to add to their score in the dying minutes and camped close to the tryline for several minutes, but they were unable to add to their score, while Scotland made the most of their last try-scoring opportunity with Lloyd crossing the chalk for her second try on the stroke of fulltime after dashing around on the outside for a 38-15 victory.
Springbok Women 15 (3) – Tries: Aphiwe Ngwevu, Aseza Hele. Conversions: Tayla Kinsey. Penalty Goals: Shuneez van Heerden.
Scotland 38 (19) – Tries: Jade Konkel (2), Lisa Thomson, Abi Evans, Rhona Lloyd (2). Conversions: Sarah Law (3), Helen Nelson.