The Springbok women completed their Nations Cup campaign on a disappointing note in Colorado in the early hours of Sunday morning as they suffered a 61-5 defeat against hosts, the USA, in the third and fourth-place playoff.
Canada, meanwhile, defeated England 27-13 in a hard-fought final to win the competition.
The USA showed their determination to finish the tournament on a high in front of their home crowd from the opening exchanges, with flank Lynelle Kugler forcing her way over the tryline twice in the first six minutes in a strong start to the match.
Their forwards continued to dominate, which set up lock Sarah Walsh for their third try in the 10th minute, which captain Christy Ringgenberg converted for a 19-0 lead.
With the momentum and confidence favouring the hosts, they continued to break SA’s defensive line and added two tries by the 25th minute to stretch their lead to 39-0.
But SA bounced back with a try six minutes before half time as Veroeshka Grain took advantage of an overlap out wide. The conversion, however, was unsuccessful, leaving the team 39-5 down at the break.
Unfortunately for SA, they were unable to add any points in the second half, mainly due to USA’s effective attack, which resulted in the visitors defending for most of the half.
In stark contrast the home team did well to find gaps in the defence and earned another four tries for their efforts, which increased their total for the match to nine. This convincing victory earned them a third-place finish in the tournament, while the Springbok Women were forced to settle for fourth place.
Results at the IRB Nations Cup in Colorado, USA: 30 Jul: Canada 29-25 England 30 Jul: USA 35-22 South Africa 4 Aug: England 18-17 South Africa 3 Aug: USA 29-17 Canada 7 Aug: Canada 53-17 South Africa 7 Aug: USA 21-36 England 10 Aug: 3rd Place Final: USA 61-5 South Africa 10 Aug: Championship Final: Canada 27-13 England Women’s Nations Cup Squad for the IRB Nations Cup: Nolusindiso Booi (Border) Nedene Botha (Free State) Marlien Cronje (Blue Bulls) Nomathamsanqa Faleni (Eastern Province) Phumeza Gadu (Eastern Province) Veroeshka Grain (Western Province) Laurian Johannes (Western Province) Portia Jonga (Eastern Province) Zenay Jordaan (Eastern Province) Celeste Marais (Western Province) Vuyokasi Mbonda (Western Province) Andrea Mentoor (Western Province) Lamla Momoti (Border) Lusanda Mtiya (KZN) Nwabisa Ngxatu (Border) Zandile Nojoko (Eastern Province) Fundiswa Plaatjie (Border) Annilie Pretorius (Blue Bulls) Marnezelle Rabie (SWD) Daphne Scheepers (Eastern Province) Mathrin Simmers (SWD) Vuyolwethu Vazi (Blue Bulls) Simone Vosloo (Blue Bulls) Mandisa Williams (Border) Thandi Xwetu (Blue Bulls) Team Management: Aslam Abrahams – Head Coach (caretaker) Gerhardus Oelofse – Assistant Coach Orna Prinsloo – Team Manager Lehlogonolo Mampane – Team Doctor (non-travelling) Denzil van Heerden – Fitness Coach Tanushree Pillay – Physiotherapist
(With editing by gsport)