The Springbok Women’s Sevens struggled on the opening day of the Canada Sevens World Series in the early hours of Sunday morning as they battled to make their presence felt in the pool stages. The team opened up the tournament with a 40-5 defeat against the USA, and then went down 47-0 against hosts Canada and 22-5 against Russia. The USA forced their way over the advantage line on attack and broke through tackles with ease.
This combined with their speed out wide allowed them to dominate against South Africa. In total they scored an impressive six tries to only one by Springbok Women’s Sevens wing Phumeza Gadu, who sprinted through a gap to the tryline. But with one-on-one tackles letting SA down, they found themselves on the back-foot for most of the match.
Hosts Canada delivered a fine all-round performance in SA’s second clash, with their innovation and effectiveness on attack allowing them to stamp their authority for a 47-0 victory. A solid first half by Canada in their second clash of the day saw the tournament hosts score four converted tries, which included a hat-trick by Ghrislaine Landry, to take a convincing 28-0 lead at the break. They added another three tries in the second half.
This handful of tries was scored from a series of fantastic runs, a chip-and-chase, sniping runs from the base of the ruck and turnovers respectively. The hosts supported this fantastic attacking display with rock-solid defence. SA tried hard to counter this by opting for rush defence and stringing together phases on attack, but they were exposed in the corners on defence as Canada spread the ball wide and used their raw pace to race to the tryline, while they lost the ball in contact at crucial times on attack.
In their final clash of the day Russia came out firing as they scored from the kick-off and then added another two tries thanks to a combination of their speed and SA’s unorganised defence to take a 17-0 lead at the break. They continued this strong form in the second half with an early try, but they were forced to defend for several minutes as South Africa got their hands on the ball and tried to string together a few phases. Zenay Jordaan’s team’s efforts finally paid off in the dying seconds with debutante Kirsten Conrad scoring a try thanks to some encouraging passing and fantastic support play.
The Springbok Women’s Sevens will face Brazil in the bowl semifinal at 20:28 on Sunday.
Springbok Women’s Sevens day-one results (Canada World Series):
USA 40 – 5 SA
Canada 47 – 0 SA
Russia 22 – 5 SA
Springbok Women’s Sevens day-two fixtures (Canada World Series):
20:28 – Brazil vs SA (Bowl semi-final)