They have studied their three pool B opponents on day one of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow and prepared with that in mind. Now it is time to go out on to the Luzhniki Stadium pitch and deliver, Springbok Women’s Sevens coach, Denver Wannies said on Friday.
The Russian tournament started today with a number of matches in the men’s division, but for Wannies and his team, who surprised many in the inaugural Rugby World Cup Sevens for Women tournament in 2009, the call to action happens tomorrow.
South Africa will play Ireland in their opening match on Saturday and according to Wannies, this could be the crunch match in the pool. With China not expecting to provide too much of an obstacle and defending World Cup champions Australia tipped to top pool B, the South Africa/Ireland clash could go a long way to establish the second place in the pool and qualification to the play-off’s on Sunday, their real aim, Wannies indicated.
“We are expecting a very physical approach from Ireland and have prepared for that. We need to play to our strengths as well and I will pick a starting team with that in mind,” Wannies said after the team had a capping ceremony attended by SARU president, Oregan Hoskins, amongst others.
“We have beaten China in our last four matches, so there is a confidence in the group that we can do so again. It will not be an easy game, but we know how to play to beat them and will be looking for some of the same.”
They are also ready to topple Australia, he said.
“They have brought back some of their 2009 veterans and as I can see in my team, that experience is valuable. The six, seven debutants in our squad have to settle down quickly, but luckily our core players have been to Dubai in 2009 and know what to expect. They are also driving the high standards we have set for ourselves in this tournament.”
The team was boosted by the news that playmaker Zenay Jordaan, who picked up a niggle in yesterday’s training, has been given the green light to start.
“She just suffered a bump against the hamstring and has recovered from that. She will be ready,” Wannies confirmed.
The SA times for their clashes in pool B are: