The Springbok Women’s Sevens remained on track to win the ticket that would secure them core status in the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series by booking their place in the quarter-final of the Qualifying tournament in Hong Kong. They will face Wales in the playoff match on Friday.
The team finished second in Pool A on Thursday after winning two of their three matches on the opening day at the So Kon Po Stadium.
They started strongly with a 31-0 victory against Mexico and then outplayed Papua New Guinea 26-17, before going down 24-12 to Kenya in the pool decider.
Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Paul Delport was disappointed about the defeat, but he took comfort from the fact that his charges remained on track to qualify for the 2018/19 World Series. The winner of the Qualifier will earn their place as a core team on the circuit.
“We did not do ourselves any justice in that last match against Kenya, and I told the team that it was a disappointing performance,” said Delport. “I do not mind being outplayed, but not out-desired. They wanted the win more, and that is not what this jersey stands for.”
“The players are not playing for themselves, but for a much bigger cause, and that is why our effort against Kenya was poor.”
“We are still on track though and we will be back fresh and determined to face Wales.”
Tries by Eloise Webb and Veroeshka Grain were not enough in the match against Kenya as their African counterparts scored four tries to secure a first-ever win over South Africa.
Earlier though, Delport’s charges showed good form in their matches against Mexico and Papua New Guinea.
South Africa start well against Mexico with captain Zintle Mpupha finishing off some good interplay amongst her teammates to score the first try of their campaign.
Nadine Roos was on the score sheet shortly afterwards, finishing off solid work on the inside to push the Springbok Women’s Sevens 10-0 ahead.
A second try by Roos, which was converted by Chané Stadler, saw South Africa 17-0 up at the break.
The second half saw two more tries by South Africa thanks to Unathi Mali and Zenay Jordaan, which were converted by Stadler and Roos.
A strong second half, meanwhile, steered the team to victory against Papua New Guinea.
The South-Sea side opened the scoring to take a 5-0 lead, before Mathrin Simmers sprinted away to score, with Jordaan converting.
Papua New Guinea scored again before the break to take a 10-7 lead, but the South Africans edged ahead with some help from the bench, as Unathi Mali scored an intercept try after Mpupha crossed the chalk.
Mali’s try was the buffer needed, as it was all over when Nadine Roos earned her third five-pointer of the tournament, which cancelled out a late try by the opposition.
South Africa v Mexico- Tries: Zintle Mpupha, Nadine Roos (2), Unathi Mali, Zenay Jordaan. Conversions: Nadine Roos, Chané Stadler (2).
South Africa v Papua New Guinea – Tries: Mathrin Simmers, Zintle Mpupha, Unathi Mali, Nadine Roos. Conversions: Zenay Jordaan (3).
South Africa v Kenya – Tries: Eloise Webb, Veroeshka Grain. Conversion: Jordaan
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Rugby Union.