South Africa successfully defended their title as champions of Africa, and by doing so qualified for the Rugby World Cup in England next year and confirmed their place at the WXV 2 tournament, to be played in Cape Town later this year.

The trip to Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar, underscored not only the team's ability to fly the South African flag with their style of play, but they also won the hearts of many in “Tana” with a visit to the local Betikara Orphanage, where players delivered products and spent some time in their busy schedule to engage with the kids.

The team decided to donate money and clothing to the orphanage and visited the kids for some tender love after a couple of days on tour.

According to the Bok Women's experienced hooker Lindelwa Gwala, the players felt compelled to do something to reach out to what they saw were people in need.

“The daily trips between our hotel and the training field and back reminded us how fortunate we are and the feeling amongst the players to help those in clear need was spontaneous,” said Gwala.

“Individually the players started talking about wanting to do something, to help alleviate circumstances we saw around us. We all had that spirit of giving and once it became clear that everyone wanted to do something, we made it work as a team.”

Gwala googled the nearest orphanage to the hotel and arranged with the local liaison officer for a visit to Betikara. The players collected money which they used to buy daily necessities, while they also donated clothing for the cause.

The trip was hugely rewarding to players, even more so to Bok Women flyhalf Mary Zulu, who grew up in an orphanage, the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard in Mandini, KwaZulu-Natal.

“Yes, it was very emotional for me to see that, but also very uplifting,” said Zulu.

“It is clear they are in need and our visit meant so much to them. I could identify with that and some of my teammates asked me about my experiences as well.

“We all left there feeling very humbled, but also very fulfilled that we could make a small change in the lives of those kids.”

A patron of Betikara, Mr Barry Rosie, wrote a letter of thanks to the team: “We thank you for considering our orphanage as the recipient of your heartfelt gifts.” He thanked the team for their visit and wished them a “winning season” and safe travels. The orphanage also posted a congratulatory note on their Facebook page after the team won their final match against Madagascar.