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Coach laments lack of experience in Bok Women’s heavy defeat to France in Rugby World Cup opener

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Springbok women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer has cited a lack of experience in his charges as the reason behind their thumping 40-5 defeat to France.

two women’s rugby players in action
Ma’lle Filopon of France with the ball during the Women’s Rugby World Cup Group Stage match against South Africa and France at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday, October 8, 2022. Picture: Aaron Gillions/EPA

Cape Town – Despite the Springbok Women’s side’s 40-5 thrashing by France in their World Cup opener, head coach Stanley Raubenheimer praised his team for the attitude they showed against a much more experienced unit.

France, ranked fourth in the world, scored six tries to the solo try South Africa, ranked 11th, managed in the opening match of the tournament at Eden Park on Saturday morning.

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“I cannot fault our team for effort,” said Raubenheimer after the game.

“The big difference was the experience between the two sides, one playing year in and year out in the Six Nations, and the other on their way back after a couple of years in the wilderness. France deserved the win and congratulations to them, but I am pleased with the way we played in stages.

“We allowed them too many soft opportunities and that was frustrating. We again started poorly and conceded early points. Our finishing was also not the best, with a number of opportunities going astray. The intercept try also did not help at all.”

Forwards coach Eddie Myners added that some of their set-piece play was a big positive from SA’s first World Cup appearance since 2014.

“It was a bit of sweet and sour – we really did well at times, but also poor at other times,” said Myners.

“How we messed up the very first kick-off and conceded points almost immediately is a good example of us just giving momentum and tries away.

“Our maul was great though and I thought we would be rewarded when we had three strong drives at the line, but that did not happen on this occasion. Overall, though, it was a sound performance and we are keen to regroup and get ready for Fiji next weekend.”

Hooker Lindelwa Gwala said it was encouraging to see the strides they had taken since their last meeting with the French, while adding where she feels they can improve.

“We stood up to France today and at times dominated them. A year ago, when we played in Vannes, we could not do that, so there is no doubt in my mind that we have improved tremendously since then.

“Today, at times, we were really on the front foot against one of the top packs in the game and that is a good boost for our confidence.

“That is costing us, we are making small mistakes that result in big plays for the opponents. We need to cut that out, because it is holding us back from being amongst the best teams.

“We have the team, I am convinced that we can compete against any team any day, but to eliminate the small areas of uncertainty and error will take time. The more we play, the more experience we will gain and the more we will eliminate the mistakes.”

The Springbok Women’s next Pool C game is against Fiji next Sunday morning (kick-off 6.45am SA time).

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