Springbok Women – “We Were Not Great At Times, But We Will Take The Win” – Louis Koen


Springbok Women head coach Louis Koen congratulated his team on their narrow 15-13 win over Spain in their season-opener in Valladolid on Saturday and added that the Test would be remembered for the way in which the South Africans ground out the victory, rather than the spectacular play by the visitors.

Jakkie Cilliers succeeded with a late penalty goal to give the Bok Women a two-point lead, before Spain failed to clinch the game with from a penalty in the final minute.

“When you grind out a win like this and it was not your best performance, you have to take it. We were not great at times today, but we will take the win,” said Koen, adding that it was clear the team last played a match in October.

“We started slowly and seemed rusty at times. To start the season with a narrow win will be great for the team's morale though, and I am grateful for that. It will boost our confidence before next weekend’s Test against the USA.”

Koen said the foundation was laid by his pack and he said forwards coaches Franzel September and Laurian Johannes-Haupt deserved all the credit in this win.

“We won today because of our forwards and the way they performed in the scrums and lineouts and for that, Franzel and Laurian must be applauded,” he said.

According to Koen, the objectives of the tour – to play higher ranked opponents and get some preparation in for the Rugby Africa Women's Cup in Madagascar - have been reached.

“The conditioning of the squad is significantly better than the same time last year and our alignment camps prepared us well to play until the final whistle today,” said Koen.

“We also blooded four new caps today, so in that regard, we are ticking the boxes we wanted. We will have to bank on them in the Africa Cup when our UK-based players will not be available, so they picked up good experience on what Test rugby is all about, something we are going to need in Madagascar.”

Koen also lauded the physicality of his team: “We saw how many injuries Spain picked up in this game and our conditioning was much better, which can be attributed to those camps we had. We were more battle-hardened than them today.”

The Bok Women departed for London on Sunday and will face the USA in Ealing next Saturday before returning home.