The Springbok Women's XV on Saturday defended like demons and capitalised on a few vital point-scoring chances to power their way to a 20-5 victory against the Nomads at the Lensbury Club in Teddington.
The match marked the first of three games on their Rugby World Cup warm-up tour to London and France. The tour was made possible by a R2,3m grant by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.
The Springbok Women started the match strongly with wing Phumeza Gadu gathering a kick by the Nomads and dancing her way through several defenders to score the first try four minutes into the match.
The Nomads, however, bounced back strongly soon after and used their big forwards to put together a series of pick-and-goes, which allowed them to camp in the visitors half for several minutes. They supported this with a strong showing in the scrums, which proved to be one of their main strengths in the match.
However, the Springbok Women's defence held and they denied the hosts from crossing the tryline. The South Africans managed to get back onto the front foot after retrieving possession and worked their way back into the Nomads’ half.
The pressure created an opportunity for scrumhalf Tayla Kinsey to slot over a penalty, which she capitalised on to increase their lead to 8-0.
Centre Lorinda Brown added her name to the point scorers list soon after as she gathered a fantastic pass from No 8 Shona-Leah Weston, who made a strong break up the midfield and sucked in the defenders to create space out wide.
With momentum on their side the South Africans created another try-scoring opportunity on the stroke of half time, but the Nomads shut them out, forcing flyhalf Zenay Jordaan to kick a grubber, but without success.
The Nomads again applied pressure on the Springbok Women in the second half, but the visitors did well to contain them and managed to push them back into their own half.
Unlike the first half, in which the Nomads kicked the ball behind the Springbok Women, they opted for a more structured attacking game in the second half to prevent the visitors’ in-form backs from counter-attacking.
After defending for a long stretch the South Africans finally forced their way back into the Nomads’ half and applied intense pressure on attack, which allowed fullback Cindy Cant to score the team’s third try minutes before the final whistle. She converted her own try to stretch the lead to 20-0.
The Nomads, however, managed to salvage some pride in the dying minutes with a consolation try by replacement hooker Elisha Dee following several phases on attack.
The Springbok Women will face the Nomads again on Tuesday at Wasps Football Club before travelling to France for a Test against the IRB Women's Rugby World Cup hosts in Marcoussis, outside Paris, on July 4.
While the victory will bolster their confidence for the remaining matches, the team will have to pay special attention to their scrums, in particular, before Tuesday’s clash after finding themselves under pressure in the set piece at times.
Springbok Women's XV 20 (13) - Tries: Phumeza Gadu, Lorinda Brown, Cindy Cant. Conversion: Cindy Cant. Penalty: Tayla Kinsey.
Nomads 5 (0) - Try: Elisha Dee