The Springbok Women, leading 17-12 at the break, had to overcome a strong second-half surge by Kenya and needed a late try by their captain, Lusanda Dumke, to beat the East Africans 29-22 at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Monday.
The victory secured the South Africans a 2-0 win in the series after they beat Kenya by 66-0 in the first Test last Thursday.
Kenya may have lost the match but certainly won the hearts of many and leave Stellenbosch with their heads high ahead of their Rugby World Cup Repechage qualification match against Colombia at the Nyayo National Stadium on Wednesday 25 August 2021
This time around, Kenya made 11 changes and included a host of their sevens players from the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and the added speed to their team created all sorts of problems on defence for South Africa.
It was clear that the visitors were keen to improve on their performance from last week, and the early helter-skelter nature of the game provided an entertaining start to the match. Lost lineouts, turn-overs and very good defensive hits highlighted the opening five minutes.
Sadly, for South Africa, they lost hooker Micke Gunter in the opening stanza, and she was replaced by another debutant for the national team, Buhle Sonamzi, who delivered a very strong showing on defence and breakdown play, but she struggled to find her jumpers in the lineouts.
Raubenheimer wanted some training field moves executed during the match and the very first of those, with his team effectively executing the new 50:22 law trial, almost worked to a tee. Unfortunately, the Kenyan forward disrupted the resulting lineout and the hosts failed to set an effective maul.
It was the start of a slow squeeze, however, as the pressure applied by the Springbok Women kept the Kenyans pegged down in their half of the field.
A number of scoring opportunities went begging, but when Kenya lost the ball in a lineout near their own line, Dumke was on it in a flash and over the line before the Kenyans could react. Zenay Jordaan slotted the conversion and after 20 minutes, the territorial dominance was reflected on the scoreboard, with the hosts leading by 7-0.
Kenya struck back with a long-range try that started in their own 22 when flyhalf Grace Adhiambo finished off a delightful attacking move.
Cilliers, used with good effect to kick booming touch finders, then first secured a turn-over before a strong run saw her dotting down in the corner. She slotted the conversion from way out and added three more with a penalty goal that pushed the lead out to 15-5.
However, Kenya scored another good try just before the half-time hooter to leave the field with some confidence for the second half, with winger Christabel Lindo finishing off another flowing move.
Kenya started the second half like they finished the first, with another long-range try. This time, fullback Janet Musindalo jumped into the line at pace and had too much speed for the South African cover defence. The try was converted and Kenya took a 19-17 lead after 50 minutes.
Adhiambo then kicked a penalty goal to put the lead out to 22-17.
South Africa, totally dominant at scrum time, used this phase to good effect and it tired out the Kenyan defenders. It was a matter of time before the SA side was going to score and when Janse van Rensburg scored from a good scrum set up, it evened up scores.
The last five minutes was a frenetic affair and while Kenya looked dangerous on the counterattack, the South Africans kept pressing.
With two minutes left on the clock, Dumke crashed through a number of defenders to score under the posts. Jordaan added the extras as South Africa took a 29-22 lead, which they did not surrender.
Springbok Women 29 (17) – Tries: Lusanda Dumke (2), Jakkie Cilliers, Libbie Janse van Rensburg. Conversions: Zenay Jordaan (2), Cilliers. Penalty goal: Cilliers.
Kenya Women 22 (12) – Tries: Grace Adhiambo, Christabel Lindo, Janet Musindalo. Conversions: Adhiambo (2). Penalty goal: Adhiambo.
-Material derived from springboks.rugby/