South Africa fell just short of overhauling Japan in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini despite their historic win over the Sakura Fifteen in the second test of the two-match series between the teams.
The 10-point margin of victory in Kumagaya earned them 1.77 rating points, taking their overall score to 64.87 points, still 1.14 points shy of Japan’s total.
A win by more than 15 points would have seen the sides swap places but that will be of minor concern to the Springbok Women who will have gained so much confidence from their first test win on foreign soil since they beat Wales 15-10 at Rugby World Cup 2010.
The hosts won 15-6 last weekend, but this time the South Africans had too much sting in their attack and never looked back after a 12-5 lead at the break.
“There are so many emotions after this win, even more so because of the team,” said head coach Stanley Raubenheimer.
“This was a very emotional tour, a tough one and one where we had some very open and hard conversations with our players. So, I am really happy for them that they could be rewarded by winning, as it means so much to them.
“Also, for the management, there is some reward in this. We have been together for a couple of years now and this very first win on the road will be savoured for a long time.”
Ayanda Malinga scored a brace of tries and Simamkele Namba also got her name on the scoresheet for the Springbok Women. Libbie Janse van Rensburg managed one conversion and added a penalty.
For Japan, flanker Seina Seito maintained her remarkable try-scoring record with another touchdown to add to the two she managed in the first test after Ayasa Otsuka had got their first try. Neither were converted.