The result meant the South Africans had to settle for 10th place in the 12-team competition.
Turnovers, mistakes at crucial times, and missed tackles again let South Africa down in the clash, which denied them an opportunity to improve on their 10th place finish in the 2010 showpiece.
Spain’s determined efforts at the rucks paid off in the 15th minute as they were awarded a penalty, which scrumhalf Patricia Garcia slotted over for a 3-0 lead.
South Africa tried to force their way back into Spain’s half by retaining possession for long periods, while flyhalf Zenay Jordaan opted to kick in behind the opposition’s defence to gain ground.
But with momentum favouring Spain, wing Eli Martinez gathered a quick pass from a ruck which caught the Springbok Women off-guard to cross the tryline for their first try of the match.
Spain extended their score to 17-0 in the 32nd minute after spreading the ball wide to centre Barbara Pla, who out-sprinted three defenders to get to the tryline for the their second five-pointer of the day.
The Spanish forwards dominated, and hooker Aroa Gonzales crossed the tryline for their third try in the 63rd minute and a 24-0 lead.
Spain continued to dominate territory and possession in the final quarter, and despite SA’s determined efforts to shut them out on defence, they were unable to reverse the damage done by Spain earlier in the match.
The pressure on South Africa intensified in the last eight minutes as replacement looseforward Shona-Leah Weston received a yellow card for tripping a player, and with numbers in Spain’s favour, Gonzalez and Martinez crossed the tryline in the dying minutes to secure an emphatic 36-0 victory.
Scorers: Spain – Tries: Eli Martinez (2), Barbara Pla, Aroa Gonzalez, Patricia Garcia. Conversions: Patricia Garcia (4). Penalties: Patricia Garcia.