SA Select Women’s coach Renfred Dazel said on Wednesday his team hoped to register a strong start to the Las Vegas Invitational, which kicks off on Thursday, as they look to build momentum and confidence early on in the tournament.
The team will face a mixed international team, Stars Rugby 2, in their opening match on Thursday and will close off the day’s play against the Brazil Women’s 7s.
They will conclude the pool stages on Friday against the USA Select 7s. The Bowl and Cup quarter-finals will begin later in the day, while the Shield, Bowl and Plate sections of the competition will be completed on Saturday. The Cup semi-finals and final, meanwhile, will be contested on Sunday.
“We have been training hard for this tournament in the last three months, and we were fortunate that we were able to test ourselves against international opposition in the friendly series against the Brazil national Sevens team,” said Dazel.
“Those matches gave us a good indication of the areas of our game which we had to improve on and also allowed us to measure where we are compared to a team such as Brazil that plays on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.
“That said, we are expecting a tough challenge in the Las Vegas Invitational. We don’t know much about Stars Rugby 2, while we expect Brazil to stretch our defence and test us with their effective attacking moves, and the USA Select 7s will look to do the same. Given the tough competition in our pool, it is important that we register a strong start to the competition so we can build momentum and confidence early on. This will be vital if we hope to achieve our goal of advancing to the Semi-final and Final.”
Dazel was pleased with the way the new players, Libbie Janse van Rensburg, Unathi Mali and Nadine Roos, had slotted into the team and adapted to the structures, he said the squad was recovering well from the long journey to Las Vegas.
“It has been impressive to see how Libbie, Unathi and Nadine have gelled with the team in such a short space of time, and I am excited to see what they have to offer on the field,” said Dazel.
“We have a good mix of youth and experience and hopefully this will contribute to a solid performance in the competition. Fortunately the players have recovered steadily from the long trip and they are excited to take to the field.”
SA Select team for Las Vegas Invitational:
Lorinda Brown (captain)
Libbie Janse van Rensburg
SA Select Las Vegas Invitational fixtures (SA times):
Thursday, 3 March
19h00 – SA Select vs Stars Rugby 2
21h40 – SA Select vs Brazil Women’s Sevens
Friday, 4 March
18h40 – SA Select vs USA Select 7s