Springbok Women’s and Border prop Asithandile Ntoyanto on Thursday relished the challenge of making her Test debut in front of her home crowd in the team’s crucial Rugby World Cup qualifier on Saturday against Uganda and said it was a dream come true.
The teams will line up at the Buffalo City Municipal Stadium at 15h00, with the winning team earning the right to play in the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup in France.
The talented 22-year old, who attends KSD FET College, in Umtata, in the Eastern Cape, has been a regular starter for Border in the Women’s Interprovincial Series after joining the team in 2008.
But despite her vast provincial experience, she admitted that her call-up to the squad and subsequent inclusion in the starting team was a pleasant surprise.
“It is a real honour to be called up to represent my country, and the fact that I am playing at home makes this even more special,” said Ntoyanto.
“I have been watching the Springbok Women’s team play over the last few years and I have always admired captain Mandisa Williams, and what she has achieved. So it is fantastic to play alongside her and this fantastic group of players as part of the set-up.”
Ntoyanto was one of five Border players included in the starting-15, but the only debutant in the run-on team.
Her provincial team-mates include lock Nolusindiso Booi, looseforwards Williams and Nwabisa Ngxatu and scrumhalf Fundiswa Plaatjie. And with their experience to guide and support her during the match, she hoped to have a memorable debut.
“There is obviously a lot of pressure on the team to win the match, and although one can sense the seriousness among the players to do the job this weekend, they have kept calm, which has had a positive influence on the players making their debuts,” Ntoyanto said.
“So hopefully things go well on Saturday and that we play well as a unit because a victory would make this occasion even more special.”