Springbok Women’s flank Lamla Momoti says her team has officially switched into World Cup mode as they prepare to face Australia on Friday in their opening match of the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in France.
South Africa will face Australia at 15h45 on Friday, hosts France on August 5 at 20h45, and Wales on August 9 at 17h00 in their pool matches to be hosted at the French Rugby Federation headquarters in Marcoussis, outside of Paris.
The team arrived in France on Monday and had a short recovery session before attending a welcome function at the Les Ulis community hall. But they resumed training on Tuesday, with early morning core training followed by a video session and their first field training session in France.
“This is the third Women’s Rugby World Cup I am participating in and it is fantastic to see how quickly the players have adapted to their new surroundings and switched into match mode,” said Momoti. “Every player realises the importance of starting the tournament with a quality performance and the fact that we are facing Australia in our first match has forced the players to develop the required mental toughness from the outset, which is encouraging for us as a team.”
The last time the Springbok Women faced Australia was in the 2010 Rugby World Cup in London and the result was a disappointing 62-0 defeat. But Momoti believes that they are far better prepared for this match than four years ago.
“Our preparation this year has been on a different level in terms of professionalism compared to 2010 and that includes the training camps at home and our preparation in camp,” said Momoti. “So I believe this time we have a chance of registering a victory. That said it will be tough because Australia are a quality team with good skills, but the fact that we are several levels up from where we were before has bolstered the confidence in the team.”
Since the team’s arrival in France it has been overcast with spurts of rain, and the early forecast is that it could also rain on Friday. But Momoti said they were prepared if it were to rain on match day.
“We trained and played in wet conditions in London against the Nomads and during the first week of our holding camp in Cape Town, so we are prepared if it rains on Friday,” she said.
The Springbok Women’s match-day squad to face Australia will be named on Thursday morning.