Kenya was taught serious lessons by South Africa on Saturday as the East African Lionesses got their preparations for the upcoming World Rugby WVX3 underway at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town on a low note.
Kenya lost 77-12 to the Springbok Women, a match they will truly draw a lot of lessons as they gear up for the Dubai assignment set for October 13.
South Africa started well, but a lapse in concentration allowed Kenya a mini-comeback before the break. The second half belonged to the Bok Women though, who scored 53 points without reply as their pack took control of the match and the team found their groove on attack.
The Springboks scored three tries in the first 15 minutes to take a comfortable 19-0 lead.
Grain (wing), back in the team for the first time since 2021, scored the first try in the third minute as the Bok Women controlled possession from the start. Six minutes later, Sinazo Mcatshulwa (lock) went over from a lineout maul, and then Yonela Ngxingolo (prop) powered her way over the tryline from a tap-penalty.
Libbie Janse van Rensburg (flyhalf) converted two of the tries, but Kenya started to find their rhythm and their discipline also improved as they fought back with two tries. Diana Kemunto (flanker) intercepted and ran 60m to score just after the first quarter, and 12 minutes later wing Stella Wafula exploited a lapse in defence by the Boks, with Mathe in the bin.
Roseline Botes (hooker) scored South Africa's fourth try - also from a great lineout maul - on the stroke of halftime to give them a 12-point lead.
Whatever was said at half-time in the changeroom clearly had the desired effect as Louis Koen's team shifted gear.
Fullback Byrhandré Dolf scored her maiden Test try before Danelle Lochner (lock) added her name to the score sheet - with the Boks showing more patience on attack - and when Botes scored her second try, the score jumped to a more respectable 41-12 with just under 30 minutes to go.
The Bok Women then took complete control of the match and ran riot in the final 25 minutes. Unathi Mali (wing) scored on debut and Janse van Rensburg also went over, with Mathe and Grain both scored two late tries each as the host team almost crossed the Kenyans' try-line at will. [Additional reporting by SA Rugby]