Springbok Women rule scrums, but USA attack too hot to handle in London

Fullback Byrhandrè Dolf was rewarded for her efforts with a second-half try for the Springbok Women against the United States in London on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

Fullback Byrhandrè Dolf was rewarded for her efforts with a second-half try for the Springbok Women against the United States in London on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Mar 30, 2024


The Springbok Women dominated the scrums, but were let down by their handling as they suffered a 38-17 defeat to the United States in Saturday’s Test in London.

The Americans, who are ranked ninth compared to South Africa’s 12th, showed great discipline and execution of the basics to run in six tries to three at the Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club in west London.

The final score-line wasn’t an accurate reflection of the match, though, as the Bok Women gave a solid account of themselves after beating Spain 15-13 in Valladolid last weekend.

Despite a disastrous start right from the kickoff, when wing Jakkie Cilliers’ knock-on saw SA fail to pick the ball and USA flank Georgie Perris-Redding racing through, the Boks got stuck in with relish in the physical exchanges.

The likes of captain and lock Nolusindiso Booi, flank Danelle Lochner, No 8 Aseza Hele and props Xoliswa Khuzwayo and Babalwa Latsha made a number of strong carries through the encounter, while backs such as flyhalf Mary Zulu, centres Piwokuhle Nyanda and Veroeshka Grain, as well as fullback Byrhandrè Dolf were full of running too.

But after two or three phases, there was either an inevitable knock-on in contact or a turnover from USA as the Boks’ ball retention was poor on a clear, sunny London afternoon.

The South Africans also wasted a few attacking lineouts inside the USA half, and were made to pay for their errors as the Americans extended their lead to 14-0 after half-an-hour when hooker Kathryn Treder rounded off an excellent passage of play sparked by livewire scrumhalf Olivia Ortiz, with captain Kate Zackary delivering the scoring pass.

Perris-Reading caught the tigerish Bok defence napping early in the second half when she picked the ball up at a ruck and motored straight up the middle for her second try in the 43rd minute to make it 21-0.

The South Africans eventually made their forward dominance count as hooker Lindelwa Gwala – playing on her Ealing home ground – controlled the ball superbly at the back of a maul to dot down.

Any thoughts of a Bok comeback, though, was stopped in its tracks when a clever grubber by USA flyhalf McKenzie Hawkins bounced awkwardly near the SA tryline, and Cilliers fumbled the ball, with wing Emily Henrich grabbing the five-pointer.

The introduction of loosehead prop substitute Sanelisiwe Charlie strengthened the Bok scrum even further, and they produced a series of terrific set-pieces where they just walked forward against the American pack.

But it didn’t result in any points, and it was USA who showed their composure once more when Hawkins’ chip bounced up perfectly for left wing Lotte Clapp to finish.

Bok fullback Dolf and No 8 Hele were rewarded for their efforts all afternoon long with consolation tries, but it was energetic USA flank Perris-Redding who had the final say with her hat-trick touchdown in the closing stages.


Springbok Women 17 – Tries: Lindelwa Gwala, Byrhandrè Dolf, Aseza Hele. Conversion: Mary Zulu (1).

USA Women 38 – Tries: Georgie Perris-Redding (3), Kathryn Treder, Emily Henrich, Lotte Clapp. Conversions: Gabby Cantorna (4).

Related Topics: