Toronto, Canada - After trailing the entire match, South Africa rallied in the closing minutes to beat the USA 26-23 during the third round of the Women’s Nations Cup. The Eagles are currently 0-3 and will have the opportunity for retribution on Saturday, when the USA sees the Springboks again in the third-place match.
South Africa took some time to settle down, and two quick penalties from flyhalf Sadie Anderson put the Eagles up 6-0 early on. The Springboks followed with the first of its two penalties to get on the board, 6-3.
USA wing Vanesha McGee accounted for the game’s first try after Anderson pounced on a loose ball and quickly dished to the sideline speedster (13-3). All three of the Eagles’ tries came from the wings, but the USA had trouble containing and breaking through South Africa’s center attack.
The RSA inside center pulled her team within five with a try, then a counterattack from an errant clearing kick allowed the Springboks to run in another five-pointer, 13-13, before the break.
South Africa went into halftime with momentum, and regaining controlling at the kickoff of the second stanza was crucial for the USA. Fortunately, wing Kaelene Lundstrum put the Eagles on the right path with a try for the 18-13 lead.
Another USA penalty allowed RSA to pull within two points, but then substitute wing Katie Dowty, who replaced Lundstrum, scored on the short side of the ruck for what seemed a comfortable lead, 23-16, heading into the closing minutes.
But South Africa kept pursuing the tryline and was rewarded after turning over a lineout in the USA’s end. The corner try wasn’t converted, so the USA still had a two-point lead, and just needed to hold on.
But a late penalty opened up some room for the South African backs, who dotted the go-ahead try, 26-23. The win marks the Springboks’ first win ever at the Women’s Nations Cup.
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