The Springbok Women will begin their preparations for the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup on Thursday with a four-day camp in Cape Town, which will mark an important step in laying the foundation for the competition which will be hosted in France from August 1 to 17.
The Springbok Women, who will make their third consecutive appearance at the international showpiece, have been drawn in a pool with hosts France, Wales and Australia.
A 40 member squad, which features a mix of experienced players including Springbok Women’s captain Mandisa Williams and wing Natasha Hofmeester, and a handful of players who have earned their first call-up’s will assemble in Cape Town for medical screening and fitness tests.
The group excludes the Sevens players, among them star flyhalf Zenay Jordaan and centre Mathrin Simmers, who were key figures in the team’s World Cup qualifier against Uganda last year, but who will be expected to focus on the Sevens code until May.
The battery of tests will be followed by field training sessions led by members of the South African Rugby Union Mobi-Unit, including Louis Koen and Chean Roux, SARU General Manager of High Performance Rassie Erasmus and former Springbok Lawrence Sephaka.
“It is a privilege to play in a Rugby World Cup, and we are determined to make the most of this opportunity to prove that we have grown as a team since the first World Cup in 2006,” said Erasmus.
“In order to achieve this, however, it is important to start with our preparations as early as possible so all the building blocks are in place by the time the squad departs for Paris. In the last few years we have invested a large amount of time and resources in Women’s rugby and this year the focus on the 15-a-side team will be even greater with the World Cup taking place.
“This camp will mark the first of a series of camps in the lead-up to the tournament, but this will mark one of the most important as it will offer the players and the team management an idea of the condition the ladies are in,” Erasmus explained.
“The results of these tests will provide a good indication of what the players need to do to work themselves into contention to secure a place in the final squad later in the year. In effect this marks the first step in our road to the Women’s Rugby World Cup.”
Springbok Women’s training squad: Celeste Adonis (Western Province), Nolusindiso Booi (Border), Kirsten Conrad (Boland), Nomaphelo Dike (Western Province), Nomathamsanqa Faleni (Eastern Province), Nombasa Hagile (Border), Natasha Hofmeester (Western Province), Laurian Johannes (Western Province), Portia Jonga (Eastern Province), Tayla Kinsey (KwaZulu-Natal), Thantaswa Macingwana (Border), Benele Makwezela (Western Province), Dolly Mavumengwana (KwaZulu-Natal), Vuyokazi Mbonda (Western Province), Andrea Mentoor (Western Province), Rights Mkhari (Limpopo Blue Bulls), Onicca Moaga (SWD), Lamla Momoti (Border), Lusanda Mtiya (KwaZulu-Natal), Nwabisa Ngxatu (Border), Zandile Nojoko (Eastern Province), Portia Nqunqa (Border), Asithandile Ntoyanto (Border), Tamsyn Nuttley (Western Province), Marnezelle Rabie (SWD), Yolanda Sana (Border), Namhla Siyolo (Eastern Province), Nonkosi Sobandla (Border), Claudia Thompson (KwaZulu-Natal), Sinazo Tsawu (Border), Amanda Tshidi (Border), Zimkitha Tsilana (Western Province), Ziyanda Tywaleni (Border), Denita Wentzel (Western Province), Shona-Leah Weston (Blue Bulls), Christal Williams (SWD), Mandisa Williams (Border).