Springbok Women’s coach Lawrence Sephaka on Monday named a 23-member national training squad for their second warm-up match against the SARU Women’s Interprovincial XV at Ellis Park on Saturday as their preparations intensify in the lead-up to the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup.
Sephaka’s squad includes eight Springbok Sevens players who participated in the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in Amsterdam, while 12 players were retained from the national training squad that gathered in Cape Town two weeks ago.
Blue Bulls flyhalf Cindy Cant and Border centre Sinazo Nobele were included the national squad for the first time this year.
The squad will gather in Johannesburg on Friday and will have a captain’s run in the afternoon to fine-tune their preparations for the match, which will serve as a curtain raiser to the Vodacom Super Rugby clash between the Lions and Vodacom Blue Bulls. The players will return to their provinces on Sunday.
A squad of 24 players was also selected for the Women’s Interprovincial XV, which includes a handful of players who were named in the Springbok training squad for the Cape Town camp, including Western Province back Natasha Hofmeester and props Laurian Johannes and Vuyokazi Mbonda, as well as Springbok Women Sevens players Lorinda Brown and Nosiphiwo Goda.
With a large number of these players still in the mix for the Women’s Rugby World Cup squad, this warm-up match will offer Sephaka an opportunity to see most of the players in his Springbok Women’s preliminary World Cup squad in action.
The presence of several experienced players in the Women’s Interprovincial XV, meanwhile, is also expected to create a tough contest at Ellis Park.
“We always planned to draft some of the Springbok Women Sevens players into the group following the IRB Women’s World Series and we are looking forward to the contribution they will make to the team,” said Sephaka.
“These women are very fit after spending the last few months in the residential programme in Port Elizabeth and they have been exposed to top international competition, which I believe will be beneficial to the team.
“It will also be good to see how these players gel with the specialist 15-a-side players,” he added. “The sooner we have them playing together, the better, because the World Cup is a little over two months away.”
Despite being able to select only 23 players in the national training group, Sephaka said he would watch the players in both teams closely on Saturday, especially with an eye on selecting a squad for the Springbok Women’s warm-up tour to London and France next month.
The touring squad will play two matches against the Nomads in London and a match against France in Marcoussis, outside of Paris, where the Springbok Women will be based during the World Cup.
“Given the vast experience we have across the two groups Saturday’s match should be a good contest,” said Sephaka. “There are some experienced Springbok Women’s players in the Women’s Interprovincial XV and this should result in a tough game and also good contests in the different areas of the game, which is exactly what we need before the tour to London and France.”
Springbok Women’s training group:
Forwards: Celeste Adonis (Western Province), Nolusindiso Booi (Border), Nomathamsanqa Faleni (Eastern Province), Portia Jonga (Eastern Province), Thantaswa Macingwane (Border), Andrea Mentoor (Western Province), Asithandile Ntoyanto (Border), Denita Wentzel (Western Province), Mandisa Williams (Border)
Backs: Cindy Cant (Blue Bulls), Phumeza Gadu (Eastern Province), Rachelle Geldenhuys (Blue Bulls), Veroeshka Grain (Western Province), Zenay Jordaan (Eastern Province), Tayla Kinsey (KZN), Jacqueline Kriel (Blue Bulls), Lamla Momoti (Border), Sinazo Nobele (Border), Marithy Pienaar (Blue Bulls), Benele Makwezela (Western Province), Fundiswa Plaatjie (Border), Ziyanda Tywaleni (Border), Vuyolwethu Vazi (Blue Bulls)
Women’s Interprovincial XV:
Forwards: Nombasa Hagile (Border), Lizane Jacobs (Blue Bulls), Laurian Johannes (Western Province), Charmaine Kayser (Western Province), Sbonela Lestela (Pumas), Kayalethu Mambalu (Eastern Province), Vuyokazi Mbonda (Western Province), Nomsa Mokwai (Leopards), Katlego Moremi (Blue Bulls), Luleka Parafini (Border), Amanda Tshidi (Border), Simone Vosloo (Blue Bulls)
Backs: Lorinda Brown (Eastern Province), Lusanda Dumke (Border), Nosiphiwo Goda (Border), Natasha Hofmeester (Western Province), Abigail Jantjies (Western Province), Nomaphelo Mayongo (KZN), Zintle Mpupha (Border), Zandile Nojoko (Eastern Province), Siduka Noluvuyo (Border), Ntombifuthi (Linah) Sibiloane (Pumas), Siphosethu Tshingana (Eastern Province), Shona-Leah Weston (Blue Bulls).