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Fiji break Springbok Women’s hearts with last-gasp win in Auckland

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The Women Boks finally got into a good field position after a mistake by Fiji and after a patient build-up Zintle Mpupha found some space to score South Africa’s first try, and Janse van Rensburg’s conversion made it 7-7 with minutes left until half time.

But they lost concentration and on the stroke of half-time Akanisi Sokoiwasa went over for a second try for Fijiana to five them a 14-7 lead at the break.

Fiji started the second half like they finished the first, but a try by Vika Matarugu was cancelled after the TMO spotted an earlier knock-on.

That seemed the galvanise the South Africans, and with a number of replacements coming on, the Women Boks played with a spring in their step, working their way upfield and into scoring territory.

They scored after an hour and it was appropriate that Hele barged her way over, the try just reward for a huge performance by the South African No 8.

Janse van Rensburg converted to make it 14-14, setting up a big final quarter, but the Springbok Women were still guilty of making unforced errors and conceding silly penalties — SA gave away 11 second-half penalties — giving Fiji attacking opportunities.

Cavuru had a shot at goal with three minutes to go, but pulled it wide and after that, South Africa put together a good phase of attacking rugby, which ended with a penalty 35 metres out on the angle, but Janse van Rensburg was spot on with the kick, to put her side in the lead by three points.

But the restart went back to Fiji, Naisewa did what was necessary and the match finished in misery for a Springbok Women’s team that know it could have won this one.

Despite the result, there was joy for Zenay Jordaan, who became the most-capped Springbok Women’s player when she came on for her 35th Test cap after the break, while Janse van Rensburg’s seven points from the boot saw her become the first SA women’s player to pass 100 Test points.

Springbok Women 17 (7) — Tries: Zintle Mpupha, Aseza Hele. Conversions: Libbie Janse van Rensburg (2). Penalty goal: Janse van Rensburg.

Fiji 21 (14) — Tries: Ilisapeci Delaiwau, Akanisi Sokoiwasa, Karalaini Naisewa. Conversions: Lavena Cavuru (3).

Source: TimesLIVE

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