The SA Select Women’s Sevens elite squad will meet teams from Border and Eastern Province in a warm-up tournament at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University on Saturday as part of their preparation for the Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens invitational on March 28.
One team from Border and two from Eastern Province will participate in the series of matches, which SA Select Women’s coach Renfred Dazel hopes would determine how much progress his squad has made since the Dubai International Invitational last November.
A fourth match will be played against a combined team from the two Eastern Cape provinces.
These matches will mark the players’ only competitive hit-out before the Hong Kong Invitational where they will face 2016 Olympic hosts Brazil and Papua New Guinea in the pool round.
“There are a few things we would like to achieve on Saturday, the most important of which is to gain clarity on player combinations and to measure the progress we have made in the various areas of our game,” said Dazel. “All 16 players in the elite squad will receive the opportunity to prove their worth on Saturday. Ultimately I would like to be in a position to select a starting line-up for the opening Hong Kong match at the conclusion of these games.
“Another important objective will be to get an idea of the quality of our rugby, as there are only three weeks remaining before the Hong Kong Invitational. I believe this is the perfect time to test ourselves under pressure,” Dazel explained.
The contracted Springbok Women’s Sevens players, among them 2013 Springbok Women’s Achiever Zenay Jordaan, will all participate in the series of matches.
The Hong Kong tournament will be followed by an African tournament hosted in Kenya in April and the IRB Women’s World Sevens Series leg in Amsterdam in May.
The players will then focus their efforts on playing for places in the 26-member squad for the 15-a-side IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in Paris from August 1 to 17.
SA Select Women’s Sevens fixtures:
09h30 – SA Select vs EP1
09h50 – EP2 vs Border
10h10 – EP1 vs EP2
10h30 – SA Select vs Border
10h50 – Border vs EP1
11h10 – SA Select vs EP2
12h35 – SA Select vs Combined Team
SA Select Women’s squad: