The Springbok Women will depart for South Africa on Monday evening disappointed following another 10th place finish at the Women’s Rugby World Cup following months of hard work in the lead-up to the international spectacle. South Africa registered only one victory in their World Cup campaign against Samoa in Marcoussis, outside of Paris, which resulted in the team remaining in 10th position in tournament – the same result they recorded in the 2010 World Cup in London. Springbok Women’s coach Lawrence Sephaka admitted on Monday that it was a bitter pill to swallow, and said, “We are very disappointed that we could not improve on our 10th place finish in the tournament, especially since we showed a lot of promise going into the competition. The players knew what to expect after the Test against France on the warm-up tour and they accepted the fact that we were drawn in one of the toughest pools. But we made things tough for ourselves throughout the competition by making errors at crucial times and not converting our point-scoring chances into points. The most disappointing aspect for us is that there were times when we pinned Australia, Wales and Spain in their own half for long periods and created fantastic try-scoring chances, but we battled to come away with points.”
Sephaka, however, said the women’s rugby structures in South Africa lagged far behind that of the top nations in the tournament and said that the development structures in SA had to improve in order for the national team to be more competitive. “The women’s rugby structures in South Africa need to improve drastically for us to compete with the best teams in the world, as their club and provincial structures are much stronger than ours. Our provincial series features three to seven matches a year per team, which is what some overseas clubs play in a month or two, so we need to start from the bottom to achieve better results at national level. We also lack regular top-class competition between World Cups, while the Six Nations teams have that luxury every year. So I think it is important to consider such factors when one looks at our results. That said we will not use this as an excuse, as we could have won one or two more matches if we implemented our structures effectively and used our point-scoring chances,” said Sephaka. The team will arrive in Johannesburg at 10:05 on Tuesday morning after which the players will travel to their respective provinces.
With the World Cup completed, the Springbok Women’s Sevens team will turn their attention to the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series qualifier in Hong Kong on September 12 and 13, while the Border, Eastern Province, Blue Bulls and Western Province 15-a-side players will continue their preparations for the SARU Women’s Interprovincial Series semi-finals and final late in September.