South Africa and Samoa drew 17-17 at Hermanus High School in the final warm-up match before WXV2
A tough Test between the Springboks and Manusina Samoa ended in a 17-17 draw (half-time 10-10) on an overcast Saturday afternoon in Hermanus, where the home team scored three tries to two.
It was a proper hit-out for both teams less than a week before WXV 2 kicks off.
For Samoa it was their first game against opposition from outside the Pacific since 2019. The only team in WXV2 to have not played in the last World Cup, their only previous games this year were in the Oceania Championship. The team included nine debuts, and it unsurprisingly took them much of the fist half to settle down.
As a result South Africa dominated the first 20 minutes, especially upfront where their greater international was most telling. They made a couple of costly mistakes but scored two good tries in the that period, by Veroeshka Grain (centre) and team captain Babalwa Latsha (prop), but it could have been more.
Overall the Boks would not have been happy with a number of silly penalties and unforced errors conceded, while their discipline also let them down at times during the match. Although their defence was mostly on point, the South Africans struggled to contain the big Samoan ball carriers at times, while they were also left perplexed by some of the referee's calls, especially at the breakdowns.
They also allowed the Samoans to fight back from 10-0 to tie the scores at 10-10 at the break.
Grain's try, in the sixth minute, came after a Bok maul was held up in-goal and from the resulting goal-line drop-out, the South Africans attacked wide to where a pin-point pass by Libbie Janse van Rensburg (flyhalf) found the speedster for the first points of the game.
Shortly after losing fullback Byrhandre Dolf for a head knock, Latsha crashed over from a strong rolling maul in the 19th minute, but sadly for the South Africans, that was the last time they bothered the scorers in the first half.
Janse van Rensburg went over but was ruled to have stepped out before dotting down, while there was also a knock-on in the process of scoring a try.
Credit to Samoa though, as they clawed their way back into the game through a 24th minute penalty goal by flyhalf Cassie Siataga, which was followed late in the half by a try by Olalini Tafoulua (lock) after a strong attack up the middle of the field. Siataga's conversion levelled the scores.
Samoa took the lead two minutes after the break when Allison Futialo (wing) crashed over after a good attacking build-up, with Siataga's conversion making it 17-10.
At this stage, the visitors looked to be in control, but credit to the South African replacements, who managed to turn the tide.
When Samoa lost their No 8, Nina Foaese, to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle in the 52nd minute, the Boks used their numerical advantage to work Maceala Samboya (wing) over in the corner for a try in her debut Test. Janse van Rensburg was on target for the first time in the match to level the scores again at 17-17.
A yellow for South Africa reversed the advantage and Samoa played most of the rugby late in the match at the Bok’s end, and had a 40m penalty with two minnutes to go that just slipped wide. But the home side’s defence held firm to force the draw.
South Africa 17 (10) - Tries: Veroeshka Grain, Babalwa Latsha, Maceala Samboya. Conversion: Libbie Janse van Rensburg.
Samoa 17 (10) - Tries: Olalini Tafoulua, Allison Futialo. Conversions: Cassie Siataga (2). Penalty goal: Siataga.