Bok Sevens Squad to Take a Week Off Before Beginning Olympic Preparations

Mathrin Simmers pictured on a charge through the Spain defense. The Springbok Women's Sevens have lost their status as a core team after their loss to Spain, and will now have to qualify for the World Rugby Challenger Series via the Africa Cup Sevens after the disappointing result on the final day of the HSBC SVNS Grand Final at Stadium Civitas Metropolitano in Madrid, Spain, on Sunday, 3 June, 2024. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

The Springbok Women’s Sevens have lost their status as a core team after their loss to Spain, and the Bok Women’s Sevens will now have to qualify for the World Rugby Challenger Series again via the continental route after the disappointing result at the Civitas Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid, on Sunday, 2 June, 2024.

Head coach Renfred Dazel said they will have to take their HSBC SVNS relegation on the chin, regroup and give their season a fitting finish at their first appearance at the Olympic Games later this year.

“We will take a week or so off to clear our heads and then start our Olympic preparations in all earnest,” said Dazel.

“As bad it is for us losing our core status, as exciting it is to go and compete as part of Team South Africa at the Paris Olympics and we need to make the most of that special moment.”

Springbok Women’s Sevens Head Coach, Renfred Dazel

With regards to the 2024 season, Dazel feels that the inconsistency during the series came back to haunt them on Sunday, when they had to beat Spain to retain their status as core team.

“Look, we can try and find excuses like the lack of a pre-season for the squad going into the series or the availability of some players, but that is not going to solve our problem of having to qualify again,” said Dazel.

“This is not the first time we lost our status and I know how despondent everyone is feeling. Thanks to SA Rugby’s support of the Sevens programme, we can remain competitive and qualify to play in the Challenger Series by winning the Africa Cup Sevens in September. So, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Dazel said the next cycle will involve finding new players to join the fray as well as creating opportunities to play sevens rugby: “We need to find the next group of young players who can take the system forward and that is an exciting prospect.

“We will also need to sit down and look at our personnel for the Africa Cup and start preparing for that with enough time in hand. It was disappointing to lose like this today, especially as we lost our way in the second half again. That dogged us all season and cost us dearly today.”

Against Spain, the South Africans clearly felt the pressure of the knock-out phase of the final tournament of the season and conceded four tries without firing any real shots.

Spain, spurred on by a lively home crowd, scored two tries on each side of the halftime break, a clear indication of their dominance in this game. They were on the attack from the outset and although the Bok Women defended well, the host team hit gaps and after four minutes, Juana Stella scored their first try.

South Africa got their hands on the ball, but more mistakes followed and a try by Paula Requena after hooter saw Spain finish the first half with a 10-0 lead.

Requena’s second try, 90 seconds into the second half, all but sealed the deal for the Spanish, and although South Africa had a few more opportunities, they were let down by their handling, with too many knock-ons costing them dearly.

Beatriz Dominguez then put the final nail in the South African coffin with a break-out try from their own 22, to ensure Spain play on the world series again next season, even though they finished one spot lower than the Bok Women in 2024.

South Africa won three out of five times against Spain during the 2024 season, but looked nothing like the team that started the tournament with two dominant performances on Friday, and failed to gain ascendency in any area of play.

Their defence was frantic, they conceded numerous penalties at the breakdown and hardly worked themselves into attacking positions, and when they did, handling errors came at a huge cost.

Spain played with much more composure, passion, and direction in the most important match of the season for both teams.

The Rest of the Tournament

Australia claimed the HSBC Championship trophy as a Maddison Levi hat-trick helped her side beat France 26-7 for their first cup win since Cape Town. 

Australia, who were League Winners frontrunners almost all season before losing out to New Zealand in Singapore, were the best team all weekend in Madrid, seeing off the Black Ferns Sevens in a thrilling semi-final comeback. 

The Blacks Ferns Sevens would go on to beat Canada for the bronze medal, revenge for their loss to the same opponents in the pool stage.

In the HSBC Play-off, China will replace South Africa on the SVNS Series next season as the newcomers defeated Belgium 33-0 in their qualifier final, while South Africa fell to a 22-0 defeat at the hands of Spain.

The HSBC SVNS Championship Final

Faith Nathan opened the score for Australia in the final, stepping off her left and striding away from the French defence with Anne-Cecile Ciofani down injured. 

Les Bleues’ pivot, Ciofani, left the field soon after, but it was Australia left defending ferociously as France kicked behind. Yolaine Yengo soon crossed for France as they got their first of the final to draw all-square, the scoreboard reading 7-7 at the break. 

Inevitably, Maddison Levi was next on the scoresheet, under the posts to put Australia seven ahead, and they turned the screw as Sariah Paki plucked their restart out the sky, Levi eventually going over for her second in the left corner. 

Levi would add a third as France fell away to secure their Grand Final title. This loss extends France’s unfortunate record of having never won a series tournament by another season with a home Olympics on the horizon.

Semi-finals – Australia v New Zealand 

A breathless opening half saw both sides go through the phases in attack, but New Zealand were first to strike through Mahina Paul. Tia Hinds used her pace to get one back for Australia, but trailed 7-5 at the break. 

New Zealand took their lead further ahead in the second half, Jorja Miller’s ripping the ball from Australian hands to set up Risi Pouri-Lane, before Portia Woodman-Wickliffe used all her power to barrel through Charlotte Caslick and take her side 19-7 ahead.

With less than a minute to go, Australia finally hit back with a brilliantly worked try, finished by Faith Nathan on the left flank, to give them a shot. Maddison Levi stretched to her full height to win the following kick off for Australia, and another patiently worked move found Caslick on the left, who broke through before finding Levi to finish. 

Tia Hinds, who’d kicked both her previous conversions, stepped up with the game on the line and sent a nerveless kick through the middle of the posts to complete a famous comeback. 

Canada v France 

Les Bleues Sevens took a strong lead into the break against Canada, three tries seeing them lead 19-5 after a brace from Seraphine Okemba and another from Yolaine Yengo, gathering a loose Canadian ball to grab another just before half time. 

Canada got themselves back in the game off a loose lineout from France, Keyara Wardley pouncing and powering away to draw her side within nine. 

Valentine Lothoz saw yellow, leaving France a player down for much of the final three minutes, and Canada once again took advantage, Asia Hogan-Rochester using her pace off the set piece to find an outside break and score. 

With Canada now just two points behind, France played some desperate rugby, giving away a flurry of penalties to give the Canadians hope. A desperate final defensive set saw some ferocious French defence, eventually ripping Canada’s ball into touch to reach the final.

Bronze final 

In a repeat of Saturday’s astonishing Canadian victory, Charity Williams put her stamp on the game with a typical show of pace to go under the sticks for the opener, but Mahina Paul would soon stride away to level things. Theresa Setefano added a second for a 14-7 Black Ferns Sevens lead at the break.

A nervy second half saw the game remain tight to the final minutes, but a try from Jorja Miller took New Zealand beyond a score ahead, their 26-14 win securing the bronze medal.

HSBC SVNS Play-off

China, who went unbeaten all weekend in Madrid, secured their place on the SVNS series next season in emphatic style, their 33-0 defeat of Belgium taking them to the HBCS SVNS stage. 

South Africa lost their core nation status as they lost 22-0 in a SVNS shootout with Spain. The home side took a 10-0 lead into the break and held South Africa to scoreless for the full game as they added two more scores in the second half. 

Japan, facing up against Uruguay, were able to maintain their spot on the series with a 26-12 win, as did Brazil with a confident 38-7 defeat of Poland. 

The Springbok Women’s Sevens at the 2024 HSBC SVNS Qualifier Tournament

#21 Byrhandre Dolf
#4 Zintle Mpupha
#96 Libbie Janse van Rensburg
#18 Shiniqwa Lamprecht
#12 Liske Lategan
#10 Mathrin Simmers
#24 Veroeshka Grain
#7 Eloise Webb
#16 Maria Tshiremba
#17 Sizophila Solontsi
#3 Ayanda Malinga
#9 Nadine Roos
#13 Kemisetso Baloyi

Qualifier Pool B and South Africa Knockout Round Results

Friday 31 May

South Africa 24 – 7 Argentina
Brazil 45 – 4 Belgium
South Africa 40 – 7 Belgium
Brazil 31-12 Argentina

Saturday 1 June

Argentina 19 – 14 Belgium
Brazil 24 – 0 South Africa

Sunday, 2 June

Spain 22 – 0 South Africa


Original Copy: SA Rugby Communications and World Rugby, with editing by gsport

Main Photo Caption: Mathrin Simmers pictured on a charge through the Spain defense.  The Springbok Women’s Sevens have lost their status as a core team after their loss to Spain, and will now have to qualify for the World Rugby Challenger Series via the Africa Cup Sevens after the disappointing result on the final day of the HSBC SVNS Grand Final at Stadium Civitas Metropolitano in Madrid, Spain, on Sunday, 3 June, 2024. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Photo 2 Caption: Maria Calvo makes headway for hosts Spain day three of the HSBC SVNS Grand Final in Madrid. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Photo 3 Caption: Australia claimed the HSBC Championship trophy as a Maddison Levi hat-trick helped her side beat France 26-7. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Photo 4 Caption: Australia’s win extended France’s unfortunate record of having never won a series tournament by another season. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Photo 5 Caption: The Blacks Ferns Sevens beat Canada for bronze, revenge for the pool stage loss between the same opponents. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Photo 6 Caption: China went unbeaten all weekend in Madrid, securing their place on the SVNS series next season in emphatic style. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

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