The SA Select Women’s team arrived in Dubai on Monday in high spirits and determined to make their presence felt in the International Sevens Invitational tournament from November 28 to 30.
The team will face Belgium, the West Coast Vikings, Tuks Ladies and Moscow Region in their round-robin matches on Friday.
With the second round featuring only semifinals and the final, Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel has targeted a top-two finish in their pool to keep alive their title hopes.
The tournament will serve as Dazel’s first assignment as the new national Women’s Sevens coach, but it will also mark the first overseas tour for a handful of players.
“We are excited to be in Dubai and grateful for this opportunity to measure where we are as a team,” said Dazel.
“We have been training hard for the last two months, so it is now up to the ladies to implement that which we have worked on against settled teams. There will be nerves among some of the players, especially those who are on their first overseas tour, but fortunately we have a solid core of senior players who can guide them.”
Dazel said given the fact that there were no quarterfinals, the team had to finish either first or second in their pool to advance to the final stages, but he was optimistic that they could achieve that.
“We are playing four matches on Friday, which will be challenging, and over and above that we do not know much about the opposition teams, so the key will be to focus on our strengths,” said Dazel.
“If we play to our potential I believe we can finish as the best-placed team in our pool, but the ladies realise that they will have to work hard to achieve this. So as a team our goal is to play as a Springbok team, rather than seeing ourselves as an SA Select side.”
The only injury concern in the camp was Rachelle Geldenhuys, who suffered a hamstring injury early last week.
However, she was cleared to travel with the team after passing a fitness Test last Friday.