The Springbok Women completed a 2-0 series win over the international Nomads at Goodwood on Saturday when they scored a dramatic 17-15 win over the visitors in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
Lock Cindy Booi scored the winning try with the last movement of the match to clinch a hard-fought victory for the hosts after the Nomads looked set to square the series 1-1.
South Africa won the first match 28-17 last week at the same venue.
The Nomads led 5-7 at halftime after Sarah McKenna converted her own try following Daphne Scheepers’ unconverted try for South Africa.
After halftime and with a stiff breeze in their favour, the Nomads kept South Africa under pressure and they deservedly stretched their lead to 12-5 after leftwing Vicky Jackson dotted down in the far corner following good work from the Nomads’ backline.
South Africa took a while to settle after the break but the introduction of regular captain Mandisa Williams seemed to have the desired effect midway through the second half. The home team suddenly started to dominate the collisions, with Williams at the forefront with some strong bursts.
The Nomads conceded a penalty try after they had a player sent to the sin bin for a repeated offence. Flyhalf Zandile Nojoko slotted over the easy conversion to draw the sides level at 12-12 with 15 minutes to go.
But the visitors refused to give up and an impressive passage of play resulted in a penalty in front of the SA posts, which McKenna converted to give the Nomads a slender 15-12 lead with just minutes remaining on the clock.
South Africa then launched one attack after the other and with the last movement of the game mobile lock Booi crashed over to secure a dramatic and historic victory to the absolute delight of her teammates and the home crowd.
Denver Wannies, the Springbok Women’s coach, was a relieved man afterwards: “We knew they would be much better in the second match but they came very close to beating us. Our girls showed grit and determination to come back right at the end and I am very proud of this effort today.
“They showed character and that is what you want from your team when you play at international level,” said Wannies.
The two-match series were the only two fixtures of the season for the South Africans, who will now have to manage without the retired duo of Yolanda Meiring (fullback) and Dolly Mavumengwana (lock).
“Yolanda and Dolly gave us such good service. We are grateful for their contribution towards Women’s rugby in South Africa and on behalf of the team I want to thank them and wish them well in their respective careers outside of rugby.”
“Apart from the two wins, the other pleasing aspect of the series is the fact that we could introduce six newcomers to the team,” added Wannies.
Hooker Denita Wentzel started the match while prop Katlego Moremi, Thantaswa Macingwana (utility forward), Theresa Ruiters (scrumhalf), Mathrin Simmers and Sinazo Nobele (wing) were all included on the bench.