That is the view of Springbok Women assistant coach and in charge of the backline play, Lungisa Kama, who attributed the close defeat to the South Africans not using their try-scoring opportunities and he has indicated that they will be working hard to fix those mistakes in order to get the result against the 12th ranked team in the world.
“We made three line breaks and did not finish, because for different reasons, we never got that final pass away,” said Kama on Tuesday.
“The fact that we could make the line breaks was a very pleasing aspect of our attack; the fact that we did not score from them, not so much. So, the focus this week will be to work on those small aspects that tripped us over when in scoring positions.”
The failure to finish is reflected in the stats of the match – South Africa made three line breaks, while Japan did not make one. The hosts managed to get outside the SA defence four times, but they were stopped as both the Japan tries came from ruck sorties.
“We were guilty on defence on not communicating our alignment at times and that created the opportunities for them, but that is something we can fix, and I am not too concerned about that,” said Kama.
The statistical review showed how closely the sides were matched, with each enjoying 50% possession in the game. Japan made 140 passes and the Springbok Women mad 107, while South Africa completed 118 of their 128 tackles, while Japan managed 134 out of 165 attempts, with the missed tackles due to the direct approach by the Springbok Women.
Even the breakdowns were very close – the Springbok Women had 79 successful breakdowns and Japan had 72. The hosts turned over possession from South Africa twice, but gave away possession three times.
But for those three opportunities where Japan’s defensive line was breached without scoring success, the South Africans also had issues with their discipline and lineouts, and the set piece is another aspect where the Boks will fine-tune this week. They only won six out of 11 lineouts (55%), but to be fair, Japan was only slightly better at 57% (12/21).
The 16 penalties conceded to the nine of Japan proved the difference though and Kama said they have addressed that issue.
“Some of those were created by Japanese pressure, but we were also guilty of ill-discipline, something we spoke about. It will be better this weekend; in fact, I think the effort will be better as well and we are certainly going for the win,” he said.
The Springbok Women’s team to face Japan on Saturday will be announced on Wednesday.