In spite of his team suffering back to back defeats in their November Series tour, Springbok Women coach Stanley Raubenheimer is pleased with the growth shown by his team.
However, he is adamant that hard work awaits the team as they build towards Rugby World Cup in New Zealand next year.
South Africa lost 29-19 to Wales on Saturday while they were hammered 46-3 by France a week before.
On Saturday, Bok Women scored 12 points in the last 10 minutes of the clash at Cardiff Arms Park, but Wales’ lead proved too big a hill to climb and Raubenheimer said deficiencies in their current game caused that.
“We have grown a lot over the two weeks — I can honestly say that physically and fitness wise, we have stepped up a lot, especially as we came from almost playing no rugby in the last year,” said Raubenheimer, according to Saru.
“We again finished strongest, with our bench really making a difference, but our inability to keep the ball for long periods and to relieve pressure with our kicking game was our downfall in that first half.
“That is disappointing, as it is two of our focus areas on tour and it did not yield the same growth as the other parts of our game.”
Raubenheimer was pleased with the way the players stayed calm under pressure, especially when they were down to 14 when Unam Tose was sin-binned and a couple of players went down cramping.
One of those try-scorers, Zintle Mpupha, said the team’s character came through again, but she lamented the poor start.
“We cannot dig [a] hole that deep and expect that we will get out of it,” said Mpupha.
“It was disappointing, but generally I feel we did many good things that we can build on as a squad. The pleasing part of those tries was that it showed that we never gave up and that we can create some magic.”
The Springbok Women will have two training sessions with the England squad this week and then play England U20’s on Sunday.
They conclude the tour with a match against the Barbarians at Twickenham on Saturday, November 27.