Louis Koen admits 'soft' moments hampering Springbok Women's progress

Louis Koen admits 'soft' moments hampering Springbok Women's progress

The Springbok Women need to eliminate soft moments in high-intensity situations if they want to compete against and become a top-ten-ranked team.

That was the view of the team's head coach Louis Koen after the Bok Women went down 38-17 in an entertaining match played against the USA at Ealing Sports Club on Saturday, a team ranked ninth in the world.

However, Koen also sees reasons to be positive about the progress the team made on their two-match European tour, which started with victory over Spain.

"I am proud of the effort of the team, we really contested well today and were in the match for large parts of the game," he said.

"The difference on the scoreboard was two or three tries and that was when we came up short in doing the basics. Those tries came from poor play on our side and that is something we need to get rid of.

"The USA came into the match with limited preparation, but managed to exploit soft moments on our side like a top ten side would and should. Congratulations to them for exploiting our mistakes and a deserving victory. We will have to improve on those errors if we want to be a top ranked side as well."

Koen said it was not doom and gloom after the tour, which yielded a win over Spain last weekend: "Apart from those tries, we had a say in large parts of the match and I thought we had the dominace in the scrums, where the good work of coach Laurian Johannes-Haupt come through.

"We had good attacking options, but lost a couple of lineouts close to their tryline and those are areas we would have scored from, if it was not for the mistakes."

Strong scrumming will be important in the Rugby Africa Women's Cup in May, the next assigment for the Bok Women.

"Our scrums was a highlight, as was the performance of our front row and especially Xoliswa Khuzwayo and Aliyah Tchogna-Njamen, who both progressed so well on tour," said Koen. "We will have a proper review once back home to look at other areas as well and how we can improve."

The players are now returning to their unions to play in the SA Rugby Women's Premier Division, which starts towards the middle of April.

"We will name 28 players for the Madagascar tour in a couple of weeks' time, and we hope that this group come through the first couple of rounds unscathed," said Koen.

The team will arrive in South Africa on Monday.