The Springbok Women’s team took a massive stride toward the World Cup and in the process blazed a new chapter in their history by winning their first game on foreign soil by dispatching Japan 20-10 in Kumagaya.
THE SPRINGBOK Women’s team took a massive stride toward the World Cup and in the process blazed a new chapter in their history by winning their first game on foreign soil by dispatching Japan 20-10 in Kumagaya on Saturday.
This also meant they shared the spoils in the Japan Rugby Challenge Series after the hosts had won 15-6 the weekend before, but this time the South Africans had too much sting in their attack and never looked back after a 12-5 lead at the break.
Coach Stanley Raubenheimer says the victory is special in so many ways, and he especially felt it was a testimony to the belief of the group to stick to their plans and processes.
“There are so many emotions after this win,” said Raubenheimer.
“This was a very emotional tour, a tough one where we had some very open conversations with our players. So, I am really happy for them that they could be rewarded by winning, as it means so much to them.
“There is also reward for the management. We have been together for a couple of years now and this very first win on the road will be savoured for a long time.
“We had chances in the past – I am thinking of Spain in 2019 and then Wales last year and even Japan last weekend – so to now finally get it over the line is awesome.”
Raubenheimer said the success of the tour can be attributed to the players’ refusal to surrender in Kumagaya: “I think our defence was outstanding; it was one of the most rewarding defensive efforts in a long time and it probably won us the match. There were many instances where we were under severe pressure, but they chased down Japan and stopped them from scoring.
“It was also very pleasing to score three tries, especially after so many opportunities went begging in the first match. I thought the tries – especially the two scored by Ayanda Malinga – were exceptional.”
Raubenheimer said the win also confirmed that their Rugby World Cup preparations are on track.
“We are way behind the top teams, and no one denies that but at least we are putting the right things in place,” he said.
“It will take time, but if I look where we were a year ago, post-Covid, and how we have progressed to beating Japan… the players now have something to show for their hard work.”