History made history when springboks beat Japan in Kumagai

It was a historic night at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium on Saturday when the Springbok women beat Japan 20-10 to not only win their first home test but also share the trophy in the Japan Rugby Challenge Series.

The hosts won 15-6 last weekend, but this time the South Africans attacked too hard and never looked back after a 12-5 lead at half-time.

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Springbok Women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer said afterwards that the win was special in many ways, and he especially felt it was a testament to the group’s belief in sticking to its plans and processes.

“There are so many emotions after this victory, especially because of the team,” said Raubenheimer.

“It was a very emotional tour, a tough one, during which we had very open and tough conversations with our players. So I’m really happy for them that they can be rewarded with a win because it means so much to them.

“So there is some reward for leadership in this. We have been together for a couple of years, and this very first away victory will remain in our memory for a long time.

“We’ve had chances in the past – I’m thinking about Spain in 2019, then Wales last year and even Japan this past weekend – so now it finally means a lot to us too.”

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Raubenheimer said that the success of the tour can be attributed to the players’ refusal to surrender at Kumagai: “I think our defense today was outstanding; it was one of the highest scoring defensive attempts in a long time and she likely won the match. There were many times when we were under a lot of pressure, but they chased Japan and didn’t let them score.

“We were also very pleased to break the barrier three times, especially after so many missed opportunities last weekend. I think the attempts, especially the two scored by Ayanda Malinga, were exceptional.”

Raubenheimer said the victory also confirmed that their preparations for the Rugby World Cup were on track.

“Look, we are way behind the top teams and no one denies that,” he said. “We still keep working when it comes to the best teams, but at least we’re doing the right thing.

“It will take time, but if I look at where we were a year ago after COVID and how we have progressed to defeat Japan, it is a very good feeling. Players now also have something to show for their hard work.

“Now we have another big battle when we play Spain at home, but for now we will enjoy this very, very special victory.”


Japan 10 (5) – Sad: Ayasa Otsuka, Seina Seito.

South Africa 20 (12) – Attempts: Ayanda Malinga (2), Simamkele Namba. Transformation: Libby Janse van Rensburg. Penalty: Janse van Rensburg.