Meanwhile, the Blue Bulls Women held on to close out a fast-finishing EP Queens in Nelson Mandela Bay with a good 17-15 victory, while Boland Dames scored an impressive 29-0 win over the Mastercard Golden Lions Women in Wellington. Current log leaders and last year’s runners up, DHL Western Province, had a bye.
Border Ladies were boosted by the return of SA Rugby Women's Player of the Year, Lusanda Dumke, who missed the opening two matches due to Springbok Women's Sevens duties. The flanker’s impact was significant as she scored two of their seven tries and kept their attack razor sharp with a number of strong carries.
Border Ladies coach, Nwabisa Ngxatu, complimented Dumke's role and how they outmanoeuvred the home side's defence in this impressive win.
“Lusanda means a lot to this team, she is a great motivator and brings lots of positives in her play as was seen out there today. We had a plan to outflank the Sharks and it worked well,” Ngxatu explained.
“We noticed they play within the two 15-meter lines, so we realised that we could find space on the outside if we move them around, and it worked with our backline finding opportunities there.”
Border lost their opening match to the Blue Bulls Women, but have now bounced back with wins over EP Queens and the Durbanites and for Ngxatu, the upward curve in momentum and performance is good reward.
“I told the team at the beginning of the season that this tournament will be a journey and our end goal will be to play in the finals again. We needed a bonus point win against the Sharks and the team responded in getting there,” added Ngxatu.
The win pushed Border to second place on the log, but for the Cell C Sharks, the defeat dropped them into the bottom three at the halfway stage of the competition.
Boland Dames scored four tries in their win over the Mastercard Golden Lions Women at Boland Stadium in Wellington to secure a first victory in their second match of the season. They had to work hard to overcome the Gauteng visitors, with two tries in each half complimented by a determined defence easing them towards victory.
The home side dominated the scrums and that laid a good platform to attack from. Coach Thomas Chowles made a number of changes to his team, and it worked out well for him.
The Golden Lions came back hard in the second half with sustained attacks threatening the Boland line. Some errors when in a position to score and determined defence by the home side prevented any points though and once Boland outlasted that effort, they cruised home.
It was a tight affair at Wolfson Stadium, where the Blue Bulls Women raced to a 17-3 lead at the break of their match against EP Queens. They scored two well-worked tries via their industrious backline, but also became their worst enemies when the home side rebounded in the second half.
The EP Queens scored twice to claw back to a one score game, but ran out of time to secure a second home win in the competition. Credit to the Blue Bulls who absorbed the pressure in those frantic final minutes as the EP side pushed hard to secure the win, with their defence securing a second win in as many games.
The log after three rounds can be viewed here.
Boland Dames 29 (12), Mastercard Golden Lions 0 (0)
Boland Dames – Tries: Bernice Strydom, Anelca Hess, Selladean Pietersen, Shakira Mamphoke. Conversions: Hess (3). Penalty goal: Hess.
Cell C Sharks 0 (0), Border Ladies 39 (12)
Border Ladies – Tries: Lusanda Dumke (2), Unam Tose, Aphiwe Ngwevu (2), Nqatyiswa Lufutha, Owethu Nayiphi. Conversions: Zintle Holofela, Unam Tose.
EP Queens 15 (3), Blue Bulls Women 17 (17)
EP Queens – Tries: Noxolo Mankayi, Sinalo Mtshizana. Conversion: Byrhandre Dolf. Penalty goal: Dolf.
Blue Bulls Women – Tries: Zintle Nonkasana, Zeeze Maguga. Conversions: Libbie Janse van Rensburg (2). Penalty goal: Janse van Rensburg.