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’We have grown a lot over the past two weeks’, says Springbok Women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer

Springbok women players react after the their test match against France. Photo: Jean-Francois Monier/AFP

Springbok women players react after the their test match against France. Photo: Jean-Francois Monier/AFP

Published Nov 14, 2021

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Durban - The Springbok women are taking a leaf out of the book of their male counterparts by finishing their games strongly and when they learn to start better, they will be a force to be reckoned with.

The Bok Women scored 12 points to none in the last 10 minutes of their clash with Wales at Cardiff Arms Park at the weekend but allowing Wales to race into a 22-0 lead proved too big a hill to climb.

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The week before, the Bok ladies also outplayed France in the final quarter of that match and coach Stanley Raubenheimer feels the growth shown during the first two weeks of their November tour have been pleasing, but he is adamant that hard work awaits the team as they build towards Rugby World Cup in New Zealand next year.

“We have grown a lot over the two weeks – I can honestly say that fitness-wise, we have stepped up a lot, especially as we came from almost playing no rugby in the last year,” said Raubenheimer.

“We again finished strongest, with our bench really making a difference, but our inability to keep the ball for long periods and to relieve pressure with our kicking game was our downfall in that first half.

“That is disappointing, as it is two of our focus areas on tour and it did not yield the same growth as the other parts of our game.”

ALSO READ: Plenty of work to do but Springbok Women have stepped up, says coach Stanley Raubenheimer

Raubenheimer was pleased with the way the players stayed calm under pressure, especially when they were down to 14 when Unam Tose was sin-binned and a couple of players went down cramping.

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“We talked about having a player down, but did not train for that, yet the players showed that they listened to me for a change,” he smiled.

“Some players needed to play in unfamiliar positions because of that, like our replacement lock Lerato Makua having to make her debut on the wing. They adapted very well and that was pleasing, especially as they kept their focus in that time.”

The coach applauded the team for their tenacious defence and attacking prowess in the last quarter of the match.

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“We kept on making tackle after tackle and the times we were breached, it was because of system errors, not because of a lack of trying. The tries we scored were really well-worked and it was a delight to watch. It shows we can score tries like that and that is great to know,” he said.

One of those try-scorers, Zintle Mpupha, said the team’s character came through again, but she also lamented the poor start.

“We cannot dig that hole that deep and expect that we will get out of it,” said Mpupha.

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“It was disappointing, but generally I feel we did many good things that we can build on. The pleasing part of those tries was that it showed that we never gave up and that we can create some magic.”

Mpupha said the review of the two Tests will highlight the ability the side has, but the players will have to be more clinical early in the game.

“We are just starting too slowly and that is costing us dearly. We will work on those and will be better,” she said.

The Springbok Women will have two training sessions with the England squad next week and then play England Under-20s next Sunday. They conclude the tour with a match against the Barbarians at Twickenham on November 27

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