The Springbok Women had little to show at the end of a highly entertaining match with the Barbarians Women at Twickenham in London on Saturday, with the 60-5 scoreline a very sober reflection of the difference in experience, class and execution in match played at a high intensity and pace.
The Baabaas’ 38-0 lead at the break was a sign of things to come, but credit to the South African side’s second half effort, as they showed some aptitude and appetite to play at this level.
The Barbarians made merry of several poor options by the Springbok Women, especially with too many errors by the South Africans handing their experienced opponents more than enough opportunity to score easy tries. And tries they scored – in fact ten of them – with three by left wing Sarah Levy.
If the speedster had a field day, it was thanks to some dominance, especially in the opening half, by her pack, but also real sloppy passing by the South African backs who handed hard-fought momentum right back to their opponents.
The home team started strong, and never relented. They opted for an attacking lineout in the opening minute, and although the drive was repelled, the pressure soon started to tell.
South Africa conceded a 5m-scrum after Unam Tose’s pass to Zenay Jordaan forced the flyhalf to carry the ball over. From a resulting and powerful scrum, flyhalf Katy Daley-Mclean fired a pin-point cross kick which Levy gathered to score. The flyhalf slotted the conversion as well and the Baabaas were on the run.
Their second try came courtesy of the veteran England flyhalf as Daley-Mclean found the blind side to score in the corner after 14 minutes.
The next try was one of a few gifted on a plate. Midfielder Chumisa Qawe lost the ball while on attack, scrumhalf Natasha Hunt grabbed the ball and ran all of 30 meters to the Bok tryline. She was hauled in, but French-based lock Lenaig Corson scored from the following scrum. Daley-Mclean converted for a 19-0 lead after 18 minutes.
Baabaas Pile on the Pressure
The jittery backs did not help themselves on defence either as right-wing Rhona Lloyd raced through after a sniping run found the defence napping. The conversion was good and the lead 26-0 after 24 minutes, but that soon became 31 as Levy added a second try on the half hour mark, again after poor passing handed possession back to the Barbarians.
This forced coach Stanley Raubenheimer into changes with Jakkie Cilliers, Asithandile Ntoyanto and Micke Gunter being replaced by Ayanada Malinga, Sanelisiwe Charlie and Lindelwa Gwala, respectively.
It shored up the scrum, but the shoddy handling at the back continued, which allowed Hunt to intercept and sprint away for her first try of the match. No 8 Sizophila Solontsi was the culprit after collecting the ball at the back of the scrum, but then finding Hunt instead of Tose with her pass. Daley-Mclean converted for a 38-0 lead at the break.
The second half started brightly for the Springbok Women, and they were handed a penalty in front of the poles early on. Jordaan missed the attempted goal though as she hit the uprights.
The SA scrum looked better with Charlie – who proved industrious for the remainder of the match – on the field, but it wasn’t long before the the home team scored the first points of the second half through a maul, with prop Lindsay Peat dotting down.
South Africa’s inability to get out of their half was not helping matters either and when Qawe was yellow carded after 55 minutes, the Baabaas made them pay immediately. The ball was moved to the left where Levy was waiting. She made no mistake and scored her third try of the afternoon.
The scoreboard ticked over to 50 just after the hour mark with replacement prop Simi Pam crashing over after sustained pressure by the pack.
Credit to the Bok Women, who kept on fighting and found some stability on attack. They held the ball well and had a good run as they kept the ball though phases. Malinga thought she scored with great run down the blind side, but she had put a foot in touch.
That spurred them on however and the South Africans kept on attacking, but again a last pass went astray, and another scoring opportunity went down the drain.
Malinga was not going to be denied though as she finished strongly when Lerato Makua busted through following some good interplay. The winger had to beat two defenders in the end, with some good work done earlier in the move by Eloise Webb, who started the counterattack, Makua and Catha Jacobs handed South Africa a well-deserved try.
Irish flanker Ciara Griffin scored in the last competitive game of her career but could not do the fairy tale ending of converting her own try. To be fair, their Twickenham experience turned out to be no fairy tale to the Springbok Women either.
We have a NEW WORLD RECORD ATTENDANCE for a Women‘s rugby match – 29,581 🍾🔥
— Barbarian FC (@Barbarian_FC) November 27, 2021
Springbok Women Squad vs Barbarians Women:
Photo 1 Caption: The Barbarians humbled the Springbok Women’s team 60-5 at Twickenham on Saturday, as the visitors concluded their World Cup preparation international friendly tour after bruising fixtures in France, Wales and England. Photo: Springbok Women (Twitter)
With editing by gsport