The Springbok Women arrived in France on Monday for the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup raring to take to the field following months of preparation for the international showpiece.
The tournament, which is being hosted in Marcoussis outside of Paris, will begin on Friday, with South Africa meeting Australia at 15h45 in an action -packed opening day.
In the other clashes defending champions New Zealand will meet Kazakhstan at 13h00, Canada will take on Spain, the USA lines up against Ireland, England and Samoa go head-to-head and France will take on Wales in the final match of the day.
South Africa’s participation in the tournament has been made possible by a R2,3m grant from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.
The Springbok Women departed for France via Johannesburg on Sunday evening and landed in Paris early on Monday morning. They then made the journey by bus to Marcoussis.
Despite the long journey, Springbok Women’s assistant coach Renfred Dazel said their arrival in France sparked more excitement within the squad for the tournament to begin.
“We have been working hard at training since late last year to ensure that we arrive in France in the best possible shape physically and mentally, so it is fantastic to finally be here,” said Dazel.
“There is no doubt that there are nerves in the camp as this will be one of the biggest tests many of the players will face in their rugby careers. But there is also an incredible sense of excitement among the players to take to the field with their first match only a few days away, which is fantastic.”
The focus in the camp on Monday was mainly for the players to rest and recover from the overnight journey to France, although they will attend the World Cup welcome function on Monday evening.
“It is important for us to manage the players well in the lead-up to Friday’s opening game because we come fresh off an intense two-week training camp in Cape Town, while some of the players battled to sleep on the plane, so they need to rest,” said Dazel.
“But we will revert to our normal training schedule on Tuesday to get the ladies switched on mentally for the big task ahead. That said our training sessions will be short and sharp to ensure that the players are fresh on game day.”
Friday’s opening match against Australia and the team’s second pool game against hosts France on August 5 will be broadcast live on SuperSport 1, while the final round-robin match can be viewed live on live-streaming on www.rwcwomens.com