The SA Women’s Under-20 national team will depart for London on Monday for the 2013 IRB Nations Cup ready make their presence felt following months of preparation.
The 26-member squad will assemble in Johannesburg on Sunday for a holding camp before jetting off.
The women face England on Thursday in their opening match of quadrangular series at Trent College, Long Eaton, which also features the USA and Canada.
They then take on the USA on Sunday 14 July and Canada on Wednesday 17 July, with the third and fourth-place playoff and final respectively being contested on Saturday 21 July.
Women’s Under-20 coach Hendrik Pieterse was optimistic about his team’s chances of success following a few warm-up matches against local Cape teams and a series of training camps over the last few months.
“We have a quality team this year and the women are determined to do well, so we have all the ingredients to be successful,” said Pieterse.
“I am pleased with our preparation, and I believe if we work together as a team and play to our potential we could win the series. That said, our first match against England will be especially tough and they may enter the match confident of a victory, but I have faith in my players and their abilities.”
Katlego Moremi is the only surviving member of the 2011 Nations Cup squad that travelled to the USA, while a handful of players participated in the Junior Olympic Games in Australia earlier this year.
This international experience expected to be invaluable in guiding the team.
“We are fortunate to have a few experienced players in the squad, but 16 of the ladies are Under-18s, so the experience they gain in London will be fantastic with an eye on the next Nations Cup tournament in 2015,” said Pieterse.
“However all of these ladies have immense talent and I know they have what it takes to be successful.”
Pieterse will be assisted by Lungisa Kama in the coach’s box, while former Springbok prop Lawrence Sephaka will also provide invaluable insights as the team’s technical specialist. Meanwhile former Springbok Women’s captain Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe has been appointed the team manager.
SA Women’s Under-20 Nations Cup squad:
Atheana Botha (SWD)
Kirsten Conrad (Boland)
Nomaphelo Dike (Western Province)
Lusanda Dumke (Border)
Gabby Fisher (Boland)
Mymoenah Gamiet (Western Province)
Annique Geswind (Western Province)
Tayla Kinsey (KZN)
Khanya Kondile (Eastern Province)
Sibonela Letsela (Pumas)
Thantaswa Macingwana (Border)
Estha Mahlangu (Pumas)
Vuyolwethu Maqholo (Border)
Lide Maqwelane (Western Province)
Sinazo Mcatshulwa (Western Province)
Rights Mkhari (Blue Bulls)
Katlego Moremi (Blue Bulls)
Zintle Mpupha (Border)
Nonhlanhla Mtambo (Pumas)
Bulela Qwane (Western Province)
Ntombifuthi Sibiloane (Pumas)
Ntsako Tshauke (Blue Bulls)
Zimkhitha Tsilana (Western Province)
Michelle Vaaltyn (Western Province)
Ezrin van Aswegen (Western Province)
Jane Winster (Western Province)
Hendrik Pieterse (Head Coach)
Lungisa Kama (Assistant Coach)
Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe (Team Manager)
Lehlogonolo Mampane (Team Doctor)
Wayne Holroyd (Physiotherapist)
Jacques Du Toit (Biokineticist)
Lawrence Sephaka (Technical Specialist)