The Springbok Women’s Sevens squad will assemble in Stellenbosch on Monday with their eyes firmly set on their next assignment, the Rugby Africa Olympic Games qualifiers, to be played in Tunisia on 14-15 October.
The team successfully completed their first mission for the year – to qualify for the HSBC SVNS 2023/24 series by winning the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series in Stellenbosch in April – and twill feel as determined for their next objective, to qualify for a historic first Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.
The players were boosted by the news that head coach Renfred Dazel and his assistant, Cecil Afrika, had their contracts confirmed and the duo were hard at work, with two development camps expanding the base of players.
With the provincial competitions completed, Dazel will have all of his regulars back in camp – including Nadine Roos, who had a six-month stint in Japan with the Nagata Black Angels – as well as Bulls Daisies players Rights Mkhari, Zintle Mpupha, Simamkele Namba, Ayanda Malinga, Marelize de Bruin and Kemisetso Baloyi, all of whom formed part of the Challenger Series group.
Daisies flanker Kyla de Vries and wing Maria Tshiremba have been added to the group following stellar performances with the provincial champions, while Sikholiwe Mdletshe (Free State Women) and Gaamiela Josephs (Boland Dames) graduated from the development camps to this group.
Three players, Elitha Sylvester, Asisipho Plaatjies and Leigh Fortuin, still have academic commitments and will join as soon as that is done, with Dazel indicating that the women’s programme is fully supportive of players who are studying.
“It is great to have the wider group available,” Dazel said.
“We do not have much time to prepare and some of the players returning from provincial duties have a couple of niggles, but we have a good foundation to work from.
“We finished the Challenger Series strong and despite the break for fifteens, the players will understand what our standards need to be for the next couple of weeks. The tournament is Tunisia will test us and we need to be physically and mentally strong to combat whatever opponent or adversity come our way.”
The Springbok Women’s Sevens training squad:
Sikholiwe Mdletshe* (Free State Women), Donelle Snyders, Bianca Augustyn, Ankia Vijoen*, Elitha Sylvester*, Shaunique Hess*, Leigh Fortuin*, Alichia Arries (all DHL Western Province), Rights Mkhari, Kyla de Vries, Zintle Mpupha, Simamkele Namba, Ayanda Malinga, Kemisetso Baloyi, Maria Tshiremba*, Marelize de Bruin (all Bulls Daisies), Liske Lategan, Nadine Roos, Gaamiela Josephs* (all Boland Dames), Mathrin Simmers, Eloise Webb, Asisipho Plaatjies, Zandile Masuku, Felicia Jacobs (all Border Ladies), Anthonecia Hannies* (SWD Eagirls).
*denotes uncapped for the national sevens team.