Cape Town - Springbok Women's coach Stanley Raubenheimer was disappointed with his team's 29-12 defeat against Spain at the WJ de Wet Stadium in Despatch on Saturday, but he said there were positives they could build on going forward.
Spain scored two tries to one by the Springbok Women and slotted a penalty to take a 15-5 half-time lead, and they built on this with two more second half tries, while reducing the hosts to one for the win.
"It was a tough one," said Raubenheimer.
"Spain showed again why they are ranked in the top 10 sides in the world (Spain are ranked ninth in the World Rugby rankings).
"I think experience was our biggest drawback. Essentially we played with a different team today. It wasn't the same team that played in the 2021 World Cup Qualifiers.
"We created three very good opportunities to score which we couldn't convert into points, and apart from that there were other things we could do better, which we need to work on.
"That said our scrummaging and lineouts were a little better than the last time we faced Spain, and we put a few good phases together. So while I am disappointed with the defeat there are positives we can take from the match."
With another two Tests ahead against Scotland, Raubenheimer said: "We have two weeks together with the Scotland matches, and hopefully we can execute our game plan better, and get the desired results."
Spanish flank Paula Medin opened up the scoring in the eighth minute when she received a pass in space and used her raw pace to dash to the tryline, and they extended their lead to 8-0 several minutes later compliments of a penalty by flyhalf Patricia Garcìa.
The visitors continued to run hard at the Springbok Women as the half progressed and dominated the territory and possession statistics, although their attempts were met with strong resistance as the home side put in several big tackles.
Spain's determined attack, however, paid off in the 34th minute again as Marìa Calvo (No 8) crossed the tryline after a number of phases on attack, and the successful conversion nudged them further ahead on the scoreboard.
The Springbok Women struck back with intent on the stroke of half-time as Vuyolwethu Maqholo (fullback) gathered a smart chip kick, which saw them enter the break 15-5 down.
Spain continued to show their intent early in the second half with Calvo scoring her second try six minutes after play resumed thanks to a powerful burst through the defence, which allowed her to stretch over the chalk.
The Springbok Women remain composed and ran hard on attack, which allowed them to camp in Spain's half for several minutes, and this pressure paid off as captain Babalwa Latsha drove through the Spanish defence for their second try. Tayla Kinsey (scrumhalf) slotted over the conversion, which reduced the deficit to 10 points.
This was cancelled out in the 65th minute as Spain's Iera Echeberria (fullback) dashed to the tryline out wide, earning them their fourth try of the match.
The Springbok Women worked their way close to the tryline minutes later and had a fantastic chance to reduce their deficit, but their handling errors continued to cost them as they lost the ball over the tryline.
Both teams tried hard to add to their score in the dying minutes of the match, but defence ruled the day, which saw Spain walk away with a 29-12 victory.
The Springbok Women will travel to Cape Town next where they will get back to business for their Tests against Scotland at the City Park Stadium on Monday, September 30, and Saturday, October 5, respectively.
Scotland are ranked 12th in the World Rugby rankings, with South Africa one place higher in 11th.
Tries: Vuyolwethu Maqholo, Babalwa Latsha
Conversion: Tayla Kinsey
Tries: Paula Medin, Marìa Calvo (2), Iera Echeberria
Conversions: Patricia Garcìa (3)