Head coach Norma Plummer was relieved to see her team fighting to the death, with the Proteas gaining a significant confidence boost in the early stages of a World Cup season by securing a rare victory over England in their Sanzea Quad Series clash in London on Saturday night.
The Roses displayed early intent and took a five-goal lead, but the Proteas fought back to level the scores at 13-13 at the end of the first quarter.
With the lead exchanging hands a few times in a tightly contested battle, South Africa took a 27-23 advantage into the half-time break, and though the hosts managed to pull a goal back in the third stanza, the Proteas held a 37-34 lead ahead of the final quarter.
Clawing their way back, England regained the lead in the dying stages, but the South Africans held their nerve to secure a hard-fought victory.
Goal defence Karla Pretorius was named Player of the Match, while goal shooter Lenize Potgieter and goal attack Maryka Holtzhausen were superb up front, sinking 47 of their combined 53 attempts at goal.
“I am very proud of them,” Plummer said.
“We have beaten England before, but it is particularly good to know that we have beaten the Commonwealth Games gold medallists.”
After putting up a fight in their defeat to Australia, followed by their victory over the Roses, the Proteas were gearing up to face global giants New Zealand on Sunday in the final match of their Quad Series campaign in England.