Springbok Women interim head coach Louis Koen expressed his satisfaction with his team’s 87-0 victory over Cameroon in the opening match of the 2023 Rugby Africa Women’s Cup in Antananarivo on Saturday.
Koen said the performance, which delivered a number of hard-edged forward drives and well as some sublime backline efforts that led to South Africa scoring 15 tries without reply, was pleasing as the team put into action what they had trained for.
“We used the three days in Pretoria before our departure to Madagascar to work on specific elements of play we wanted to execute and for most of the match today, we managed to do it,” said Koen. “From that perspective I want to congratulate the team on sticking to their guns and executing.”
Koen was also satisfied that they players in the match-23 added to their Test caps as they are trying to build squad depth, while he also lauded the younger players for their performances.
“How great was it to have Asiphe Mayaba getting four tries in her debut? She really showed what she is capable of and finished well when handed the opportunity,” said Koen.
“This was perhaps the best part of the day – our players getting Test match experience that is needed as we build the squad towards the next cycle.
“We have two games left and player management will come into play now. We expect stern opposition from Kenya on Wednesday, so we will lean towards more experienced combinations. We are here to win and will balance that growth of depth with combinations that can play Test rugby.”
Mayaba said celebrating her Test debut with four tries was “a dream come true”.
I had so many emotions. When we walked onto the field and I sang the anthem with the team, my heart was beating very fast, and I was very proud,” she said.
“Then the game started and lucky for me I got a good run in early. When I scored the try, it was the best feeling, and in the second half I managed two quick tries. The second of those is one I will remember, I had to use my strength and then my feet to step inside. I felt very good after that try.”
Mayaba scored her fourth try late in the game as the floodgates opened for the South Africans and she thanked her coaches for helping hone her skills and showing her how to play rugby.
“They made it possible for me. I wanted to show today what I can do, I wanted to use my opportunity,” the 20-year-old said.
The Springbok Women face Kenya on Wednesday.