The Springbok women completed their Nations Cup campaign on a disappointing note in Colorado in the early hours of Sunday morning as they suffered a 61-5 defeat against hosts, the USA, in the third and fourth-place playoff.
Canada, meanwhile, defeated England 27-13 in a hard-fought final to win the competition.
The USA showed their determination to finish the tournament on a high in front of their home crowd from the opening exchanges, with flank Lynelle Kugler forcing her way over the tryline twice in the first six minutes in a strong start to the match.
Their forwards continued to dominate, which set up lock Sarah Walsh for their third try in the 10th minute, which captain Christy Ringgenberg converted for a 19-0 lead.
With the momentum and confidence favouring the hosts, they continued to break SA’s defensive line and added two tries by the 25th minute to stretch their lead to 39-0.
But SA bounced back with a try six minutes before half time as Veroeshka Grain took advantage of an overlap out wide. The conversion, however, was unsuccessful, leaving the team 39-5 down at the break.
Unfortunately for SA, they were unable to add any points in the second half, mainly due to USA’s effective attack, which resulted in the visitors defending for most of the half.
In stark contrast the home team did well to find gaps in the defence and earned another four tries for their efforts, which increased their total for the match to nine.
This convincing victory earned them a third-place finish in the tournament, while the Springbok Women were forced to settle for fourth place.