The Springbok Women’s XV on Tuesday secured a morale-boosting series victory against the Nomads as they registered a 32-24 victory at the Wasps Football Club in London in a hard-fought encounter for their second tour win. The team won the opening match between the sides 20-5 last Saturday. The tour was made possible by a R2,3m grant from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund. The match was tense from the outset as both teams put their bodies on the line for the full 80 minutes, but the six tries by the Springbok Women’s XV to only four by the Nomads placed them ahead on the scoreboard.
The Nomads had the first say as they used their powerful forwards to force their way onto the front foot from the kick-off, which earned burly prop Elisha Dee a try in the opening minutes. But the Springbok Women absorbed the pressure well and bounced back strongly after a solid clearance kick from fullback Siviwe Basweni. This allowed the team to test their attack, and similarly to last Saturday’s match, wing Phumeza Gadu again dodged the defence to score the team’s first try.
Flank Rachelle Geldenhuys crashed over for the team’s second try three minutes later as they opted for a long lineout, which she gathered to burst over the try line. This handed the visitors a 10-5 lead. The Nomads again used their forwards to try to force their way over the advantage line, but the Springbok Women shut them out and won a turnover, which they took full advantage of to dash to the try line.
Prop Nwabisa Ngxatu finished off the try, which marked the team’s third of the match. The Bok Women, however, were reduced to 14 players soon after as prop Cebisa Kula was sin-binned for playing the ball offside at a ruck. This allowed Nomads flank Tess Forburg to take advantage of the overlap to force her way through the defence, which reduced their lead to 15-12 shortly before half time.
The Springbok Women hit back hard after the break with an early try by talented centre Veroeshka Grain who capitalised on an overlap out wide after flyhalf Zandile Nojoko drew in two defenders to increase their lead to 20-12. They built on this strong attack as the combinations gelled and Nojoko, who celebrated her birthday, also found her kicking rhythm and forced the ball into space. With both teams playing to their strengths, the last 30 minutes proved to be thrilling as the sides scored a series of tries to keep the scores close until the end.
Zoe Saynor of the Nomads crashed over the chalk from a rolling maul to leave the Springbok Women only three points ahead with 17 minutes left, but this was cancelled out by a well-deserved try by flank Vuyolwethu Vazi after several phases by the visitors. The Nomads again retaliated with a try by Lisa Campbell in the last 10 minutes to trail 27-24, but Springbok Women’s XV captain Lamla Momoti sealed the 32-24 victory with two minutes left on the clock after another fantastic break up-field by her charges. The Springbok Women will travel to Paris on Wednesday morning to prepare for Friday’s Test against the Rugby World Cup hosts in Marcoussis, which marks the final match on their Rugby World Cup warm-up tour.
Despite a vast improvement in the scrums, Springbok Women’s coach Lawrence Sephaka will continue to work on the set piece as France are also a forward-dominated team. They will also be determined to improve their defence after leaking four tries.