The SA Women’s Under-20 team finished their IRB Nations Cup campaign on a disappointing note on Sunday night as they suffered their third successive defeat after going down 27-3 against a charged up England side in London.
The defeat resulted in SA finishing the quadrangular tournament as the fourth placed team.
England and SA both battled in the tournament while the USA and Canada stamped their authority to progress to the final. England’s victory to close off their campaign, however, would have been welcomed on their home patch as they went down 24-22 to SA in their opening match.
Unfortunately for SA injuries to key players robbed the side of several stars, including captain Faith Tshauke, centre Ezryn van Aswegen and prop Lide Maqwelane, which resulted in coach Hennie Pieterse having to select the 22 remaining players from his initial 26-member squad for the clash.
Despite this SA showed their fighting spirit in the first half and limited England to a 10-0 lead, with fullback Chelsey Fuggle scoring the first try from a maul and lock Ellie Gattlin following later in the half after diving over the tryline from a lineout.
South African fullback Kirsten Conrad opened up the scoring for the visitors early in the second half with a tough penalty kick from 40m out.
But with the momentum on England’s side and the team high on confidence following their encouraging start, SA were found themselves defending for most of the second half.
England’s effective attack also resulted in SA making mistakes at crucial times, which paved the way for the home side to cross the tryline another three times in the second half for the convincing 27-3 win.
In the final, Canada outplayed the USA 27-3 to win the trophy for the first time.