Springbok Women coach Stanley Raubenheimer applauded his side for beating Kenya in Stellenbosch 66-0 on Thursday, saying their ability to maintain their structures despite the one-sided result line adds to their overall performance.
Zintle Mpupha scored four of the South Africans’ twelve attempts in their first international match in almost two years. You will play against Kenya in the second test in Stellenbosch on Monday.
“It was nice to see how the squad has put in and implemented what we have been working on in the many training sessions since our last game,” said Raubenheimer.
“You can train as much as you want but you won’t know how you’ve gotten until you’re tested in a game and Kenya did that today.
“We are very grateful to World Rugby, SA Rugby, Rugby Afrique and Kenya for making this possible.
“We had a couple of goals today – we wanted to give some new members of the squad the opportunity to play and that worked out well. We also talked about our processes and what we wanted to achieve with the game. We never looked at the score and did “We kept our heads down and tried to do these processes and I was happy with the way that went.”
Raubenheimer said their performance wasn’t perfect but a number of things were productive: “We had some good lineups, some good scraps and our general starting position was good.
“If you compare this performance with our previous appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 against Kenya, we did much better today, and that was because we were so process-oriented,” added Raubenheimer.
Mpupha, who also scored three conversions, ended up with a personal record of 26 points in a game dominated by the hosts’ defense. They scored nine of the twelve attempts and had the upper hand for most of the game.
However, it was a matter for the entire team, as the strikers also played their part in the big win and enjoyed the dominance in the set piece. Two of the three striker attempts were scored by Sizophila Solontsi No. 8, with the first coming from a heavy scrum near the Kenyan line. Her second attempt – the last of the game – came from a powerful breakout from the hard-running, easy-going striker.
With their pack under control and good hand speed through the halfbacks, Felicia Jacobs and the evergreen Zenay Jordaan, the backs had plenty of space (and speed) to run in the Kenyan defense. The South African backline ran hard and straight and had their opponents in all sorts of trouble.
Kenya started the game well, holding the ball through a number of stages, but the Springbok women would not allow holes.
Mpupha scored the first of their three attempts in the first half from the first attack, sending the ball forward after a good preparation, and after eight minutes the score was 5-0.
She scored again a minute later – after a good break to the right of wing Veroeshka Grain, before the ball was worked to the left and Mpupha went into the same corner.
Grain then became the vendor to corner defender Eloise Webb for the first of her two attempts.
Flanker Lusanda Dumke had a strong attack that put pressure on the Kenyan defense and from the resulting game Webb found room to score.
Kenya began to make up some ground in the game, largely through the use of their strikers to force SA to a penalty shoot-out. It also halted the local team’s scoring, but only temporarily, when Grain was sent into the corner after a lineout win near the Kenyan line. The ball was swiftly moved to the right with a good pass, and after 25 minutes Grain made the fourth try of the game.
Webb scored her second 29 minutes. The Bok lineout drive was stopped, but when the ball moved backward, Webb came to the line at the right moment and angle to hit two defenders on the line.
Mpupha converted for a 27-0 lead before switching to her third attempt just before break after the South Africans took the lead and won the race on the line.
Solontsi hit from a strong bok scrum to end the half.
The second half started with the same trial score. Jacobs scored a quick try from close range before Chumisa Qawe led to her fiver after a tough run in the middle, who was converted by Mpupha to take the lead at 49-0.
Mpupha then added her fourth place before Raubenheimer gave her a well-deserved break.
Raubenheimer made several substitutions during this period, but that didn’t stop Sinazo Mccatshulwa from scoring a goal after a strong run. Goal dynamics were halted, however, and although Solontsi finished second after a burst on the sideline to score the bottom line, Kenya managed to regain some possession and defense to keep the home side from increasing their balance sheet.
Springbok women 66 (37)
Attempts: Zintle Mpupha (4), Eloise Webb (2), Veroeshka Grain, Sizophila Solontsi (2). Felicia Jacobs, Chumisa Qawe, Sinazo Mchulum.
Conversions: Mpupha (3).
Kenya 0 (0)
– SA rugby.