Nolusindiso Booi will lead a Springbok Women’s team featuring youth and experience on their tour to Europe in the next three weeks, alongside vice-captains, Zintle Mpupha – who is also the Springbok Women’s Sevens captain – and Babalwa Latsha.
Springbok Women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer finalised his squad of 28 players for their four-match tour on Monday, which includes clashes against the UK Armed Forces in London on Friday, 2 November, Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday, 10 November, Spain in Villajoyosa on Saturday, 17 November, and Italy in Prato on Sunday, 25 November.
Several players in Raubenheimer’s squad boast international experience, with Booi, Tayla Kinsey, Fundiswa Plaatjie and Thantaswa Macingwana having played in the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup, while six players have represented the Springbok Women’s Sevens, namely Kirsten Conrad, Nosiphiwo Goda, Latsha, Mpupha, Zinhle Ndawonde and Snenhlanhla Shozi.
“I am pleased with the quality of the team,” said Raubenheimer.
“There is a good mix of youth and experience, which is perfect as we start building towards something bigger and better for women’s rugby in South Africa.
“Several players have come through the Under-18 to Under-20 structures and they now have the opportunity to show what they can do on international level, which is encouraging.”
Raubenheimer emphasised the importance of having an experienced captain after entrusting Booi with that responsibility and said: “It is always important to have experience in the group, especially if one considers that we last played an official Test match four years ago.
“Cindy was part of the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup squad, along with players like Fundiswa, Tayla and Thantaswa, and their experience is going to be vital in guiding the young players on tour.”
Commenting on their training camp in Stellenbosch, Raubenheimer said: “One would always like more time to prepare, but I am pleased with what we put in place at our training camp.
“The enthusiasm the players showed at training and their excitement about being part of the squad is fantastic, and that is a good sign as we embark on this tour. We have done everything we can at home, and now it is time to implement that which we have been working on at training on the field.”
Raubenheimer said the tour will serve as a good marker to measure where the team is.
“I am not really sure what to expect over there because we have been out of the international arena for a while now, and this is my first time at the helm with the Springbok Women’s team,” he said.
“But what I am certain about it is that it will be a tough tour as Wales, Italy and Spain played in the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup. So this tour will serve as a fantastic platform to measure where we are in terms of the current international standards.”
Raubenheimer and his charges will depart for London in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Springbok Women’s touring squad (in alphabetical order):
Nolusindiso Booi (captain, lock), Western Province
Kirsten Conrad (flyhalf), Western Province
Karthy Dludla (lock), KZN
Lusanda Dumke (flanker), Border
Annique Geswind (hooker), Western Province
Nosiphiwo Goda (winger), Border
Lindelwa Gwala (hooker), KZN
Aseza Hele (flanker), Eastern Province
Alana-Lee Horne (utility back), Western Province
Felicia Jacobs (scrumhalf), Western Province
Charmaine Kayser (No 8), Western Province
Tayla Kinsey (scrumhalf), KZN
Babalwa Latsha (prop), Western Province
Thantaswa Macingwana (hooker), Blue Bulls
Kamohele Makoele (flanker), Free State
Nthabiseng Marutla (lock), Blue Bulls
Vuyolwethu Maqholo (utility back), Western Province
Sinazo Mcatshulwa (flanker), Western Province
Pennbry McNamara (hooker), Golden Lions
Katlego Moremi (prop), Blue Bulls
Zintle Mpupha (flyhalf), SA Rugby
Zinhle Ndawonde (centre), KZN
Demi Nel (centre), Western Province
Aphiwe Ngwevu (centre), Border
Yonela Ngxingolo (prop), Border
Fundiswa Plaatjie (scrumhalf), Border
Snenhlanhla Shozi (fullback), Border
Bernice Strydom (lock), Free State