The SA Select Women have been drawn in a challenging pool with France, Kenya, Kazakhstan and Kenya in the Hong Kong Invitational, which will be hosted at the Kings Park Sports Ground and Hong Kong Football Club respectively on 7 and 8 April.
The team will kick off the competition with African rivals Kenya in the opening match of the tournament on Thursday, 7 April, at 03h00 (SA time). The last time the teams met was in the final of the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens Olympic Qualifier in September last year, which the South Africans won 31-5.
The SA Select Women will meet Kazakhstan and China later in the day, with their final round-robin match against France set to kick off a tough second day for coach Renfred Dazel’s team.
Pool B will consist of hosts Hong Kong, Japan, Argentina, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
“This will certainly be a challenging tournament for our team, but we expected nothing less,” said Dazel.
“Our goal this year is to play our way back onto the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series and the only way we will achieve that is to face tough competition regularly and achieve the desired results.
“We have faced all of the teams drawn in our pool before, so we know what to expect. There is a true rivalry between us and Kenya, in particular, and they will try to make their presence felt, so we will have to be on form from the outset.
“But we expect no different from the other teams. In fact, Kazakhstan defeated us in the final of the Dubai Invitational in 2013, so we will have to be at our best throughout the tournament to advance to the final stages.”
The SA Select Women will depart for Hong Kong on Sunday, 3 April.
SA Select Women pool fixtures at the Hong Kong Invitational (SA kick-off times):
Thursday, 7 April – Kings Park Sports Ground, Kowloon
03h00 – SA Select vs Kenya
06h00 – SA Select vs Kazakhstan
10h30 – SA Select vs China
Friday, 8 April – Hong Kong Football Club
03h40 – SA Select vs France