Springbok Women show great fight to edge out Spain

Hooker Lindelwa Gwala scored the opening try for the Springbok Women against Spain on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

Hooker Lindelwa Gwala scored the opening try for the Springbok Women against Spain on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Mar 23, 2024


Left wing Jakkie Cilliers was the saviour for the Springbok Women as she slotted a late penalty to grab a 15-13 win over Spain at the Estadio Pepe Rojo in Valladolid on Saturday.

The South Africans, though, were fortunate to emerge victorious as Spanish flyhalf Amalia Argudo missed a penalty attempt right at the end, and the visitors kicked the ball into touch to celebrate a hard-fought triumph.

The South Africans battled to get going on attack all afternoon long despite enjoying front-foot ball from a dominant pack of forwards.

The Bok scrum were able to forge forward at almost every set-piece, while No 5 lock Vainah Ubisi and blindside flank Sinazo Mcatshulwa made serious metres every time they carried the ball.

But almost every time the Boks put a few phases together, they would either lose the ball in contact or concede a penalty at the breakdown.

The back-three of Cilliers, fullback Chuma Qawe and right wing Macaela Samboya showed good pace and footwork throughout, but were unable to breach the tigerish Spanish defence.

The home side’s best opportunity in the first half came when fullback Claudia Pena broke clear into the Bok half, but her pass was just in front of wing Clara Piquero, who knocked the ball into touch with a virtual open tryline in front of her.

The first points of the match came in the 28th minute through Spain flyhalf Amalia Argudo, and that spurred on the South Africans to hunt a try themselves.

They had a five-metre attacking lineout around the half-hour mark, but hooker Lindelwa Gwala’s throw-in was off target.

But Gwala made amends a few minutes later when she controlled the ball expertly at the back of another maul and dotted down to hand the Boks a 5-3 lead.

Spain hit back after halftime after Gwala was yellow-carded, with a multi-phase attack ending with replacement back Claudia Cano scoring in the left corner to put the hosts up by three points.

Both sides’ handling let them down in the second half, and it came down to a final-quarter shoot-out to decide the result. First Pena scored a try after the hour mark, which stretched Spain’s lead to 13-5 – and it looked like the Boks would relinquish a three-match winning streak over the hosts.

But coach Louis Koen’s team showed tremendous temperament to keep bashing away at the Spanish defence, and eventually they were awarded a penalty try after Spanish prop Ines Antolinez collapsed a Bok maul close to the tryline.

That made it a one-point game at 13-12 with 10 minutes to go, and after yet another powerful Ubisi charge forward, SA got a breakdown penalty that Cilliers slotted to put them 15-13 ahead.

The drama wasn’t over, though, as Spain marched their way into the South African 22 and earned a penalty, but Argudo pushed her effort wide of the uprights.


Springbok Women 15 – Tries: Lindelwa Gwala, Penalty Try. Penalty: Jakkie Cilliers (1).

Spain Women 13 – Tries: Claudia Cano, Claudia Pena. Penalty: Amalia Argudo (1).

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