With the draw for the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifiers (WRWSS) tournament in Hong Kong on 5-6 April announced, the Springbok Women’s Sevens team are more determined than ever to perform at their best to qualify for the 2018/19 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.
The draw for the 12 participating teams was held in Hong Kong this week, and South Africa was named in Pool A with Kenya, Papua New Guinea and Mexico.
According to Springbok Women’s Sevens coach, Paul Delport, the squad realises that the opportunity to qualify is within reach.
“Now that the draw is out, we have a clearer picture of what we will face in Hong Kong. We will play against three tough opponents in Kenya, Papua New Guinea and Mexico in our pool and we will plan accordingly. Our success will rest in our abilities and how we execute, and if we do that well, it does not matter who is on the other side of the field,” Delport explained.
“We recently played against PNG in Brisbane and they are a strong, physical side with good skills. The value of playing in that tournament should bear fruit in Hong Kong.
“We also played against Kenya late last year in the Rugby Afrique Sevens, and it is clear that they have been making steady progress over the last few years.
“We don’t know that much about Mexico yet, but if we execute correctly, I believe we will be very competitive against them as well.”
The women’s team progressed to the final of the qualifier last season (which they lost against Japan), and Delport is confident that they can take it all the way this time around.
“You need to be at your best during the two days, and with so much at stake, you have to use every opportunity presented to you by the opponents.”
Delport said their preparations in Stellenbosch will intensify as the qualifier looms.
He called in former squad players, Shona-Lee Weston and Nomsa Mokwai, who have both played on the World Series, to add depth and experience, and to provide cover for injuries.
•The first day of the tournament will be played at the So Kon Po Sports Ground (directly across the Hong Kong Stadium) on Thursday, 5 April, with the final day’s matches being played at the Hong Kong Stadium as part of the opening day of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on Friday, 6 April.
“This is huge. Everyone in Sevens, men and women, want to play at this venue and on this big stage. For us to be able to play in the Hong Kong Stadium will be a massive boost,” Delport concluded.
The pools for the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifier are:
Pool A: South Africa, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Mexico
Pool B: Brazil, China, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong
Pool C: Wales, Belgium, Argentina and Poland