Babalwa Latsha will lead the Springbok Women’s team against Spain on Saturday in the absence of regular captain Nolusindiso Booi as injuries forced coach Stanley Raubenheimer to make a number of changes to his side.
Booi suffered a knee injury at training, which placed her on a growing injury list that includes Zinhle Ndawonde (broken finger), Aphiwe Ngwevu (knock to the arm) and Snenhlanhla Shozi (concussion).
Raubenheimer made five personnel changes to the starting team that faced Wales for the second Test of their tour, at Campo de Rugby in Villajoyosa, with three new faces among the forwards and two in the backline.
Karthy Dludla and Sinazo Mcatshulwa will form a new lock pairing with Booi out and Bernice Strydom being managed off the bench due to a knee niggle, while Lindelwa Gwala replaces Annique Geswind at hooker and Kamohele Makoele takes over the void left by Mcatshulwa’s switch to the second row.
In the backline Zintle Mpupha moves from flyhalf to centre alongside Demi Nel, as cover for Ndawonde, which will see Kirsten Conrad take over at No 10.
“We only have two replacements left in the backline, and we have two scrumhalves on the bench, which is a bit of a challenge,” said Raubenheimer.
“It was part of our plan to rest Nolusindiso at some point, but her injury forced our hand this week. As tough as it is for us to lose players, this serves as a fantastic opportunity for others to step up and show what they can do at this level.”
Raubenheimer expected a testing encounter against Spain, and said his charges had to deliver a strong performance on attack and defence to make their presence felt.
“Spain is a regular Test-playing nation and we respect them,” he said.
“The European teams in general are very focused on the set pieces, so they will look to dominate in the scrums and lineouts. They like to back this up with an attractive brand of attacking rugby.
“That said, we have a plan on how we intend to approach this match, and if we can implement our structures well, we could do well.
“It is important that we get quality ball to attack from and we need to be solid on defence. Good communication will be particularly important in this regard with a few new players in the side.”
The match kicks off at 18h30 SA time (17h30 local time). The Springbok Women will meet Italy in their final tour match on Saturday, 25 November, in Prato.
Springbok Women’s team to face Spain:
15 – Vuyolwethu Maqholo (Western Province)
14 – Nosiphiwo Goda (Border)
13 – Zintle Mpupha (SA Rugby)
12 – Demi Nel (Western Province)
11 – Alana-Lee Horne (Western Province)
10 – Kirsten Conrad (Western Province)
9 – Tayla Kinsey (KZN)
8 – Aseza Hele (Eastern Province)
7 – Kamohele Makoele (Free State)
6 – Lusanda Dumke (Border)
5 – Sinazo Mcatshulwa (Western Province)
4 – Karthy Dludla (KZN)
3 – Babalwa Latsha (captain – Western Province)
2 – Lindelwa Gwala (KZN)
1 – Thantaswa Macingwane (Blue Bulls)
16 – Yonela Ngxingolo (Border)
17 – Katlego Moremi (Blue Bulls)
18 – Bernice Strydom (Free State)
19 – Nthabiseng Marutla (Blue Bulls)
20 – Pennbry McNamara (Golden Lions)
21 – Charmaine Kayser (Western Province)
22 – Felicia Jacobs (Western Province)
23 – Fundiswa Plaatjie (Border)