Bok Women’s Sevens Slow Out Of the Blocks in Vancouver

South Africa captain Zintle Mpupha launches an attack against the New Zealand defense on day one the HSBC SVNS at BC Place on 23 February, 2024 in Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

The Springbok Women’s Sevens team showed real determination and grit in their opening two Pool A matches at BC Place on the first day of the HSBC SVNS Vancouver, but poor second half performances resulted in defeats to Ireland and New Zealand.

They will play Brazil in their final pool match at 20h59 on Saturday, looking for a first win in Canada.

Both of their opening encounters were typical games “of two halves”. Against Ireland, the South Africans kept their defensive line intact for most of the first half, making good hits and rushing their opponents. 

A try by Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe four minutes in broke the deadlock and although Stacy Flood extended the lead to 14-0 at the break, the Bok Women were still in with a chance. Nadine Roos scored after sustained pressure early in the second half, but two late five pointers by Ireland confirmed their win.

In their match against the defending champions, New Zealand’s Black Ferns Sevens, a similar situation played out as the South Africans at first managed to interrupt the flow of the Kiwis’ attacks. A yellow card to Shona-Leah Weston opened the door for the Black Ferns to score their opening try, but as soon as Weston returned, Roos scored from a well-executed chip and chase.

New Zealand, leading 7-5 at the break, then started to put some good attacking moves together, scoring four unanswered tries in the second half for a well-earned 35-5 win.

Earlier in the day, a brace of tries from Thalia Costa saw Brazil stun Perth gold medallists Ireland in Pool A, and defending HSBC SVNS Vancouver champions New Zealand scored 11 tries to go two from two.

Australia were back to winning ways despite unconvincing performances, and Spain ended a 25-game losing run with victory over Great Britain.

New Zealand top Pool A going into Day 2, Australia and the USA are all square at the Pool B summit and France lead the way in Pool C.

Pool A: New Zealand start strong and Brazil shock Ireland

New Zealand sauntered to a 40-7 victory over Brazil in their opening game to start their Vancouver title defence, thanks to a trio of braces from Portia Woodman-Wickliffe, Shiray Kaka and Michaela Blyde. 

Against South Africa it was much of the same, Michaela Blyde going over for another brace as a tense first half dissipated into four-try dominance from the reigning champions.

Perth gold medallists Ireland carried the momentum from their stunning win over Australia into their first game with South Africa, leading 14-0 at the break before scoring two more to seal a 28-7 victory. Nadine Roos crossed for the Blitzboks’ only try.

A win against Brazil should have been routine for Ireland – they hadn’t lost to the South Americans since 2017 and had won their last 17 games on the bounce. 

Brazil, however, had other ideas, Bianca Silva’s early try followed up by a brace from Thalia Costa either side of half time. Ireland’s best efforts at a comeback were ended by Stacey Flood’s yellow card, Brazil left to celebrate a 24-7 victory.

Pool B: Australia back to winning ways

Just as they had in Perth, Fiji had the honour of playing in the opening game of the weekend, a frantic first six minutes seeing three tries and a yellow for Fiji’s Ilisapeci Delaiwau. Sammy Sullivan’s try put the USA 14-12 in front at the break and scored two more to hold on for a 21-17 win.

Japan gave Australia a scare in their opening game and led 5-0 at half time, but the SVNS 2024 series leaders scored two tries in two minutes in the second half, just about holding on for a 12-10 win. Japan continued their form against the USA, drawing 14-14 with a few minutes to go before two quick tries from the Americans sealed their second win in Vancouver.

Australia hadn’t quite shaken off the cobwebs in their second game against Fiji either, an early error opening the door for Reapi Ulunisau to score. 

Sharni Smale and Dominique du Toit crossed before the break to give them some breathing room, Faith Nathan’s searing pace and Du Toit solo show of strength taking them 26-10 clear. Their showdown with the USA tomorrow will decide the pool winner. 

Pool C: Spain end long wait for victory

17-year-old Juana Stella sealed a 19-12 win for Spain over Great Britain, their first pool victory of the HSBC SVNS 2024 series. After denying Kayleigh Powell early on, Anne Fernández De Corres turned defence into attack to score, Paula Requena adding their second. Ellie Boatman’s pace gave Great Britain hope, but Stella’s try sealed victory for the bottom seed.

Séraphine Okemba’s brace helped a dominant France side scored beat Canada in their first hit-out against Canada. After trailing 19-0 at the break, Chloe Daniels and Charity Williams both pulled one back for the host nation, but France’s third from Anne-Cécile Ciofani secured a 26-14 victory for the Cape Town silver medallists.

The two winners faced each other in Round 2, and it was France that took the 19-7 victory over Spain thanks to two first half tries and an 80-metre effort from Ciofani in the second. 

In the final game of Pool C, Canada strode to victory against Great Britain, a dominant 24-0 half time lead extended to 38-0 by the final whistle, lifting the home nation to second in the table. 

South Africa Pool Fixtures and Results at the HSBC SVNS in Vancouver (SA times, all matches on SuperSport)

Friday, 23 February

South Africa 7 (0), Ireland 28 (14)
SA – Try: Nadine Roos.
Conversion: Roos.
Ireland – Tries: Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe (2), Stacey Flood, Beibhinn Parsons.
Conversions: Lucy Rock (4).

Saturday, 24 February

South Africa 5 (5), New Zealand 35 (7)
SA – Try: Nadine Roos.
NZ – Tries: Michaela Blyde (2), Shiray Kaka, Portia Woodman-Wickliffe, Jazmin Felxi-Hothham. Conversions: Tyla King (4), Manaia Nuku.

20h59: South Afriva vs Brazil

Springbok Women’s Sevens Squad


#4 Zintle Mpupha (co-captain)
#13 Kemisetso Baloyi
#14 Simamkele Namba
#18 Shiniqwa Lamprecht
#23 Bianca Augustyn
#8 Shona-Leah Weston


#10 Mathrin Simmers (co-captain)
#9 Nadine Roos
#5 Marlize de Bruin
#16 Maria Tshiremba
#15 Alichia Arries
#7 Eloise Webb
#3 Ayanda Malinga

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

Main Photo Caption: South Africa captain Zintle Mpupha launches an attack against the New Zealand defense on day one the HSBC SVNS at BC Place on 23 February, 2024 in Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Group Photo: South Africa captain Zintle Mpupha joins the Captain’s photo prior to the HSBC SVNS Vancouver at Musqueam Cultural Centre on 21 February, 2024 in Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

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