A HAT-TRICK by No. 8 Sioned Harries paved the way for Wales Women to win their first World Cup pool game since 1998 when they defeated South Africa 36-3 at Marcoussis.
Replacement prop Jenny Davies was the other try scorer as Wales romped to a bonus-point victory — although they left it late with Harries completing her hat-trick on the stroke of full time.
Centre Robyn Wilkins converted three of the four tries and added two penalties, while fly-half Elinor Snowsill slotted a drop-goal in the first half to set Wales on their way.
Wilkins and Zandile Nojoko traded early penalties before Wilkins and Snowsill edged Wales in front with a penalty and drop-kick.
A turnover on the South African line allowed Harries to plunge over for the game’s first try and with Wilkins adding the conversion, Wales went into the break 16-3 ahead.
Davies then plunged over as Wales hunted for tries. Harries bagged her second when she drove from a scrum to crash over.
Wales hammered away at the South African line and their patience was rewarded when Harries dived over in the corner with two defenders hounding her.
Wales head coach Rhys Edwards said: “Deep down we’ve known that performance was in us. We were unlucky in the Six Nations where we were on the end of some disappointing results.
“Once you are in that sort of spiral it is difficult to come out. But we’ve kept banging away and we knew one day we would get the result. It’s very pleasing that the girls went out and executed the game plan perfectly against South Africa.
“It certainly feels like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders.”