The Springbok Women will begin their 2014 IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup campaign in France in exactly 100 days against Australia in their opening pool match in Marcoussis.
The Springbok Women have been drawn in Pool C with Australia, Wales and hosts France for the international showpiece, which will mark their third successive appearance at the Women’s Rugby World Cup.
The 39-member preliminary World Cup squad, which includes the 15 contracted Springbok Women’s Sevens players, have been hard at work since January preparing for the tournament, and captain Mandisa Williams was confident that this would pay off when they take to the field in Marcoussis on August 1.
“This is an exciting time for the Springbok Women,” said Williams. “The fact that there are only 100 days to go to the World Cup has definitely sparked excitement among the players because we have been working very hard towards this goal. But I have no doubt that this will also trigger some nerves because we now have only a little over three months to complete our preparations and reach our peak form.”
Williams added: “It is amazing how time flies. We began our preparations in January and all of the sudden there is a sense of urgency to make sure all the structures are in place and that players are as fit as can be. But we are excited about the tournament and we are optimistic that all the late nights at training and the weekend field sessions will pay off.”
The Springbok Women will participate in the SARU Women’s Interprovincial tournament for their respective provinces in the next two months, with the competition kicking off on Friday.
The preliminary squad will then be reduced, with the players set to participate in a training camp at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria from June 18 to 24 before departing for Europe on June 25 for a Pre-World Cup tour.
The tour will feature two clashes against the Nomads in London and a match against France at home.
The clash against Women’s Six Nations champions, France, in June, in particular, will be vital in the team’s preparations for what is expected to be their toughest pool clash in the World Cup, as it will give them an idea about what to expect from the hosts, while simultaneously allowing them to familiarise themselves with the country.
“The pre-World Cup tour will be important in our preparation because it will offer us invaluable game time against quality opposition, while also exposing us to the playing conditions in Europe close to the World Cup,” said Williams. “We are also grateful that we will face France before the World Cup because there is no doubt they will enter the tournament as one of the favourites after winning the Women’s Six Nations competition and also since they will have the luxury of home ground advantage.”
The women will reassemble in Stellenbosch on July 14 for their World Cup holding camp where the final touches will be made to their game plan for the showpiece, with the final 26-member World Cup squad departing for France on July 27.
Springbok Women 2014 WRWC fixtures:
Friday, August 1, 15h45: Springbok Women v Australia – Marcoussis
Tuesday, August 5, 20h45: Springbok Women v France – Marcoussis
Saturday, August 9, 17h00: Springbok Women v Wales – Marcoussis
Wednesday, August 13:
14h00 – 10th Seed v 11th Seed – Marcoussis
16h15 – 9th Seed v 12th Seed – Marcoussis
18h30 – 6th Seed v 7th Seed – Marcoussis
15h45 – 5th Seed v 8th Seed – Stade Jean Bouin
Semifinal 1: 18h00 – 2nd Seed v 3rd Seed – Stade Jean Bouin
Semifinal 2: 20h45 – 1st Seed v 4th Seed – Stade Jean Bouin
3rd/4th place playoff:
Sunday, August 17, 16h30 – Stade Jean Bouin
Sunday, August 17, 18h45 – Stade Jean Bouin