South Africa women’s head coach Denver Wannies says he has a tough task this week preparing his side to take on the world champions this Friday.
The South Africans have been training in Surrey this week ahead of the start of the World Cup and Wannies said New Zealand will be overwhelming favourites.
In an interview yesterday he said;
The fact that we played some matches this year is a great help, however, I would caution against any attempt to treat New Zealand lightly. They have won three World Cups in a row and are the number one ranked team in the world, and they have a core of experienced players who have succeeded at the highest level in the Womens game. So although they might not have played this year, I still regard them as favourites because of their outstanding track record.
Skipper Mandisa Williams and her teammates took part in a recovery session after landing in London yesterday and their first light training run at the Surrey Sports Park facilities.
Wannies also said that his team now had the vital experience that had eluded South Africa four years ago.
This team is very different from the one of 2006. We have had more time together and obviously more experience as a team. I am however glad that we have 9 players who also played in the 2006 World Cup, so their experience will be vital for us. As a team, we always strive to improve whether in training or in Test matches.
The core of the team comes from the Eastern Cape, where the Womens Game is very popular. Western Province and the Blue Bulls also have a couple of players in the squad. The players are not full-time and most have day jobs, so they must juggle their rugby commitments with their training schedule"
South Africa will also face Australia and Wales in what has been dubbed the "pool of death".
He added: The players are very committed and they follow our training, fitness and conditioning programme to the letter. We have put a lot of emphasis on conditioning because we do not play regularly together, and I also believe that fitness will be key to any good performances.
Wannies full Q&A is featured here.