South Africa secured their return to the Women’s Rugby World Cup stage after lifting the inaugural Rugby Africa Women’s Cup title in Johannesburg on Saturday, defeating Kenya 39-0.
The Springbok Women ran in seven tries at Bosman Stadium and ended the four-team tournament with three wins out of three.
Victory means that South Africa have become the eighth team to qualify for New Zealand 2021, and will make their fourth Women’s Rugby World Cup appearance after playing in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 events.
Kenya’s hopes are not over after the 39-0 defeat, the Lionesses finished as runners-up and will contest a play-off against the winner of the South American qualifier with the victor heading to the global repechage that will determine the final qualifier.
Springbok Women’s coach, Stanley Raubenheimer, commented: “I am very pleased for the players, they worked very hard to achieve this. They put in a great effort and they deserve this achievement.
“We scored a number of tries in our three matches in this tournament, so we are on the right track in that regard.
“But I think we can improve on our accuracy on attack, and I also think we need to work on our defence and kicking game. The good thing is that we will be able to work on those areas in the next few matches.”
South Africa will join defending champions New Zealand, England, France, USA, Canada, Australia and Wales who confirmed their spots with a top seven placing at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017.
The Rugby Africa Women’s Cup was the first opportunity for a team to qualify for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 through the regional qualification route.
In April this year World Rugby announced details of a new qualification pathway for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 whereby non-qualified teams will compete in new and existing regional tournaments.
Regional tournaments will also be hosted in Oceania, Europe, Asia and South America with the final opportunity for teams to qualify being through the new repechage tournament, which will be held in 2020.
World Rugby is dedicated to growing the women’s game and recently launched a new ‘Women in Rugby’ brand identity and global campaign ‘Try and Stop Us’, aimed at driving increased participation and engagement among fans, audiences, players and investors in the women’s game.
Rugby Africa Women’s Cup results
Bosman Stadium, Brakpan, Johannesburg, South Africa
9 August, 2019
Madagascar 5-35 Kenya
South Africa 89-5 Uganda
13 August, 2019
Kenya 37-5 Uganda
Madagascar 0-75 South Africa
17 August, 2019
Madagascar 15-15 Uganda
South Africa 39-0 Kenya
Courtesy of World Rugby
Photo credit: Gallo Images