South Africa became the first of the regional qualifiers to be confirmed in August 2019, after winning the inaugural Rugby Africa Women’s Cup on home soil to secure a fourth appearance on the Rugby World Cup stage. The Springbok Women made their debut in 2006 in Canada and also qualified for the next two editions in England and France.
We take a look back at South Africa’s Rugby World Cup story.
RWC debut: 31 August, 2006 v Australia at St Albert RFC, St Albert
RWC appearances: Played 15 – Won 3, Drawn 0, Lost 12 – Points for: 124 Points against 600 – Win ratio 20 per cent.
Best finish: 10th, 2010, 2014
Qualification for RWC 2021: Rugby Africa Women’s Cup 2019 winners in African regional process
Most memorable match: South Africa’s first Rugby World Cup victory came during the RWC 2010 pool stage against Wales. And it was no fluke. Namhla Siyolo, Charmaine Kayser and Zandile Nojoko all crossed the try-line to give South Africa a 15-0 lead with 65 minutes on the clock. Wales’ deficit could have been more had Nojoko and Yolanda Meiring not missed kicks at goal. Elen Evans added a late try, while Non Evans added the conversion and a penalty to make the final score 15-10, but South Africa were not to be denied.
Iconic moment: South Africa were trailing Samoa 24-20 with the RWC 2014 ninth-place semi-final approaching the hour mark. Samoa’s defence was stretched, however, and South Africa fly-half Zandile Nojoko produced a floated pass that put Veroeshka Grain into space. The replacement beat Justine Luatua for pace and then cut back inside Apaula Kerisiano Enesi to score the winning try.
Low point: The team’s first Rugby World Cup appearance ended winless. South Africa lost to Australia, England and Ireland in the pool stage, conceding 179 points in the process. Samoa then beat them 43-10 in the ninth-place semi-final before a 36-0 defeat to Kazakhstan confirmed a 12th-place finish.
Iconic player: Zandile Nojoko is the only player to have appeared in all 15 of South Africa’s matches across the team’s three tournament appearances. The fly-half has contributed 26 of the 124 points that South Africa have scored at Rugby World Cups.
Did you know? South Africa became the 19th nation to compete in a women’s Rugby World Cup in 2006.
Quote: “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. It certainly helps to qualify so well in advance. We didn’t participate in the 2017 World Cup, so we need to ensure that we reach the current world standards.” – Coach Stanley Raubenheimer reacts after South Africa confirmed their place at RWC 2021.