Stanley Raubenheimer (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
It was a memorable night on Saturday as the Springbok Women won their first-ever friendly on foreign soil, beating Japan 20-10 at the Kumagaya Stadium.
The win also sees the Springboks split the series 1-1 after losing the first Test 15-6 last week.
Springbok women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer said afterwards the win was memorable in many ways and most importantly he felt it was a testament to the group’s belief in sticking to their plans and processes.
“There are so many emotions after this win, even more because of the team,” said Raubenheimer.
“This has been a very emotional tour, a tough one and one where we’ve had some very open and tough conversations with our players. So I’m really happy for them that they could be rewarded with the win because it means so much to them.
“There is also a reward for the management. We’ve been together for a few years now and that first ever win on the road will be cherished for a long time.
“We’ve had chances in the past – I’m thinking Spain in 2019 and then Wales last year and even Japan last weekend – so finally getting it over the line now means a lot to us too.”
Raubenheimer said the tour’s success can be attributed to the players’ refusal to surrender in Kumagaya.
“I think our defense was outstanding today; it was one of the most rewarding defensive efforts in a long time and it probably won us the game. There were many instances where we were under a lot of pressure but they chased Japan and stopped them from doing it score.
“It was also very pleasing for us to cross the line three times, especially after so many wasted opportunities last weekend. I found the attempts – especially the two by Ayanda Malinga – exceptional.”
South Africa came under pressure early on after once again screwing up the kick-off, this time by tapping the ball on reception. They managed to keep the Japanese at bay in the early attacks, but after a series of pick-and-drives, the home side dodged desperate tackles from their African opponents and scored a goal in the first five minutes of the game.
This resulted in some positive play from the Springbok women and they showed early dominance in the scrum but with hooker Lindelwa Gwala out early they couldn’t get any real attacking bases out of the lanes.
However, the South Africans began to wear down their hosts physically and a series of crunchy tackles from the likes of Babalwa Latsha and Sizophila Solontsi caused further havoc in the home side’s attacking plans.
All other areas of the game were level, with the Japanese narrowly winning the shooting game, but the next three minutes suddenly showed just how dangerous the Springbok women can be when they manage to keep the ball.
First Libbie Janse van Rensburg cut through a gap and when the wing half was stopped she found a willing and able Malinga on the wing. The speedster knows his way around the tryline and in no time at all a converted try put the South Africans ahead 7-5.
From the restart, Malinga struck again. The kick-off was taken, Latsha paused and loaded to Lusanda Dumke. The flanker ran hard and timed the ball to Malinga, who slotted into two defenders with ease and from there did just enough to beat the Japanese cover defense coming from all angles. “
For Malinga, the second attempt was the most satisfying: “I think I had to work harder for that second one. I walked in the middle of the two defenders and got past both of them and used my hand to fend off another one. I knew they were coming but I didn’t look back, I just had my eyes on the line,” she said afterwards.
Janse van Rensburg couldn’t convert but the 12-5 lead was solid and it was a confident SA team going into the dressing room at half-time.
The second half began with an improved performance from Japan, who were better at holding the ball despite being swarmed by the South African defence.
They launched some dangerous attacks and almost scored in the right corner but for a brilliant defense from Nadine Roos who showed a superior game. Japan tried in vain to break through the midfield of South Africa, where Zintle Mpupha stood strong and scored a number of clear stops in that direction of the field.
The South Africans dispersed the red-white wave and then began to turn the screws themselves. Janse van Rensburg converted the lead to 15:5 with a penalty kick 20 minutes before the end.
Simamkele Namba sealed the deal with three minutes left when she hit the right corner. The wing was brought down from behind by Roos after a brilliant run but she still had to get in and out for her try.
The home side scored a try in added time, but that would never be enough to erase the Springbok women’s first-ever Test victory away from the record books.
The historic victory in Japan makes springbok women shine
Source link The historic victory in Japan makes springbok women shine