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Springboks Women's coaches defend team after French thrashing

By Ian Cameron
Coco Lindelauf of France is tackled during the Pool C Rugby World Cup 2021 match between South Africa and France at Eden Park on October 08, 2022, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

The Springboks Women team coaches have defended their players after they were thrashed in their opening Women’s Rugby World Cup game at Eden Park.

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It was a one-sided affair in Auckland, with the French running out 40-5 winners. Despite the scoreline, the coaches were reaching for positives.

Springbok Women coach Stanley Raubenheimer said he couldn’t fault the players.

“I cannot fault our team for effort,” said Raubenheimer. “The big difference was the experience between the two sides, one playing year in and year out in the Six Nations, and the other on their way back after a couple of years in the wilderness. France deserved the win and congratulations to them, but I am pleased with the way we played in stages.

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“We allowed them too many soft opportunities and that was frustrating. We again started poorly and conceded early points. Our finishing was also not the best, with a number of opportunities going astray. The intercept try also did not help at all.”

Forwards coach Eddie Myners was relatively satisfied with how his pack performed.

“It was a bit of sweet and sour – we really did well at times, but also poor at other times,” said Myners.

“How we messed up the very first kick-off and conceded points almost immediately is a good example of us just giving momentum and tries away.

“Our maul was great though and I thought we would be rewarded when we had three strong drives at the line, but that did not happen on this occasion. Overall though it was a sound performance and we are keen to regroup and get ready for Fiji next weekend.”

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Hooker Lindelwa Gwala said the team would take confidence from the game despite the one-sided scoreline: “We stood up to France today and at times dominated them. A year ago, when we played in Vannes, we could not do that, so there is no doubt in my mind that we have improved tremendously since then.

“Today, at times, we were really on the front foot against one of the top packs in the game and that is a good boost for our confidence,” added Gwala, who conceded that their error rate is still too high.

“That is costing us, we are making small mistakes that result in big plays for the opponents. We need to cut that out, because it is holding us back from being amongst the best teams,” she said. “We have the team, I am convinced that we can compete against any team any day, but to eliminate the small areas of uncertainty and error will take time. The more we play, the more experience we will gain and the more we will eliminate the mistakes.”

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