Injured South African captain Mandisa Williams may return to action in the team’s last match on Sunday against Wales at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Guildford, England.
The flanker injured her ankle during the pool match against Wales last week, when she led the SA Women to a 15-10 win and their first ever victory at the World Cup.
Williams, who made her World Cup debut four years ago as a 21-year old in Canada, is one of several SA Women’s currently players nursing injuries.
The squad only had 22 players available for the Kazakhstan match yesterday after Nolusindiso Booi (lock, cheekbone) and Charmaine Kayser (centre, bump to the head) were also ruled out and Cebisa Kula suspended.
Booi underwent minor facial surgery yesterday and will be out of action for the next three months.
Prop Nedene Botha also left the field towards the end of the match against Kazakhstan with a sore ankle but she should be ready for the Welsh rematch.
Williams has been walking on crutches in an effort to burden the sore ankle as little as possible and she has been receiving intense, daily treatment from the team’s medical staff. The injury forced her to miss the last pool match against Australia and yesterday’s play-off for ninth place against a very physical Kazakhstan.
SA Women’s coach Denver Wannies said his team have missed the leadership qualities of Williams. “Her tackling abilities and also her high work rate at the breakdown are her strongpoints.”
The tournament draw meant the team was grouped in the strongest pool, plus the fact that the team had to play five matches in just more than two weeks is taking its toll on the players.
“We are doing the best we can to manage the girls and have cut back on their training time and other activities so that they spend more time off their feet. I am hopeful that we will be able to select Mandisa for the last match, while Charmaine and Nedene should be ready,” explains Wannies.
The coach gave the team off on Thursday and only light sessions were scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday.
Wales, meanwhile, will be without their 87-capped full back Non Evans, who is nursing a leg injury. The blow also forced her to miss the play-off for tenth place against Sweden yesterday.
Hosts England and champions New Zealand will contest the WRWC final on Sunday at Twickenham Stoop. England beat Australia 15-0 in the late semi-final on Wednesday evening while New Zealand scored a comprehensive 45-7 victory over France earlier in the day.
Issued by SARU Communications