Bok women show promise despite 10th spot

2014-08-19 00:00

THE Springbok Women have finished the Women’s Rugby World Cup in France in 10th place, mirroring their performance at the 2010 World Cup where they ended in the same place.

They secured their spot after they were beaten for a fourth time at the tournament, by Spain in the ninth/10th play-off. The scoreline read 36-0 to the European women.

Their first assignment at the tournament was against Australia. The women from Down Under proved too strong for the Bok women, who were beaten 26-3. A lone penalty from Durban-based scrumhalf Tayla Kinsey gave her team their only points of the match.

Their second pool game against tournament hosts France also went badly, as they were beaten 55-3. Their third and final pool match saw them lose 35-3 to Wales. That sealed the Bok women’s fate, who did not progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.

That was not the end of the road though, as the Bok women still had to play for pride and a final standing in the World Cup. That meant a date against Samoa.

In the only game that the Bok women won, they managed to beat the Samoans 25-24 in a thrilling encounter. That set them up for their final match against Spain, which they unfortunately lost.

Springbok Women’s coach Lawrence Sephaka said that the performance was not what they had been aiming for.

“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,” he said.

“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 performance has led Sephaka to be introspective about the state of the women’s rugby.

“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,” he said.

He lamented the fact that women’s provincial rugby in South Africa usually features three to seven matches a year per team, while some oversees women’s clubs play that number in a month.

“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,” he said.

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