Springbok Women’s captain Nolusindiso Booi said on Wednesday the team are thrilled by the prospect of playing their first Test match on tour, but that they are bracing themselves for a tough challenge against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday.
The clash against Wales, which kicks off 13h30 SA Time (11h30 local time), marks the first of three Tests on their tour. This will be followed by matches against Spain in Villajoyosa on Saturday, 17 November, and Italy in Prato on Sunday, 25 November.
“The team is in a good mental space and all of us are excited about facing Wales on Saturday,” said Booi.
“We have continued to build on the structures the coaches put in place for the game against the UK Armed Forces at training this week, while also focussing on the areas which we feel we need to improve on. We are very focussed and determined to do well.”
Looking ahead at the clash against Wales, the skipper said: “We are certainly expecting a different challenge against Wales. We have no doubt they will come hard at us.
“Their pack of forwards is big and strong, and they have more experience players than us, so we will be tested. But we have a lot of heart, and the players are hungry to play international rugby again, so we are ready for the challenge.”
Booi admitted that the emotions would run high within the squad this week with several players set to make their Test debuts.
“We are experiencing mixed feelings,” said Booi.
“There is a lot of excitement in the squad, but there are also a bit of nerves. However, we are ready to measure ourselves against Wales and to see what we are capable of. The uncapped players are especially excited to play their first Test, so Saturday will be a big day for us as a team.”
Of her expectations from her team-mates, Booi said: “I would like to see us working together as unit and for the players to fight until the last minute. But at the same time, I would like everyone to enjoy the experience of playing a Test.”
Stanley Raubenheimer, coach of the Springbok Women’s team, will name the side to face Wales on Friday morning.