Koen reflected on the trip that saw South Africa face Canada and Spain in Tests, as well as live training sessions with Wales and the USA. The Bok Women returned to South Africa on Monday.

“The objectives that have largely been reached include aspects like giving experience to the players, exposing younger players to the realities of Test rugby and getting some fundamentals in place for the style of play going forward,” said Koen.

“That was very rewarding and the win against Spain – our first victory in Spain – was huge from a confidence aspect to the players.”

Koen said the performances of the five players who made Test debuts on tour were highly encouraging and has added welcome depth in certain positions.

“Their growth has been impressive, and one could already see that in the second Test against Spain,” he said. “The early red card against Canada was a pity, as it prevented us from providing a credible challenge. It is clear the more they play, the better the team will become.”

For Koen, there is no doubt that the conditioning of the players and their wider understanding of the game are areas that require work.

“We cannot compete at the highest level if our conditioning remains as it is,” he said. “We did have a long break since the Rugby World Cup, but the reality is that we are way below the international standard in this regard.

“We are engaging with the local unions to make sure the international players are following the programmes laid out, now that they have returned to their provinces to prepare for the Women's Premier Division that starts on 6 May.”

According to Koen, a better tactical understanding of the game will also aid the Springbok Women: “For that, they need to stay involved in the game when not in camp, not only playing rugby, but also understanding what the game is all about. That said, we certainly arrived back here today in a much better position as to when we left here last month.”

Springbok Women captain Nolusindiso Booi said the tour can be rated as successful, despite the big defeat to Canada.

“We needed that match, although it was only our first match since the World Cup,” said Booi.

“They showed us the pace and intensity required to compete with a top four team and we took some of those lessons at heart.

“When we played Spain a week later, we were much better in our understanding of roles and responsibilities as laid out by the new coaching staff.

“They certainly made it easy for us to understand what was needed on the field and credit to the players for buying in and executing the plan.”

Booi also mentioned the scrum and set piece improvement: “We won our scrum battles with Wales, Canada, USA and Spain, and it was very pleasing to know that we can take on any team ranked above us in those areas.

“The players were also exposed to a high-performance environment and benefited immensely. Everyone realised that we need to get better and soon. Talking to the players, they all felt they improved and have a better understanding on the demands of the game now.”

Squad members now return to their provincial unions to prepare for the provincial competition that starts next month. The next national camp will start on 14 May and the squad will travel to Madagascar for the Rugby Africa Championship on 16 May, where South Africa will face Cameroon, Madagascar and Kenya.

Selected stats:

Debut on tour: Vainah Ubisi, Danelle Lochner (locks), Byrhandre Dolf, Mary Zulu (fullbacks), Shaunique Hess (centre)

Most points on tour: Libbie Janse van Rensburg 12 (1 try, 1 penalty goal, 2 conversions)

Most tries on tour: Shaunique Hess (2)

Results: Canada 66, South Africa 7; South Africa 35, Spain 20