Utility forward Nomaphelo Mayongo will make her Springbok Women’s 15-a-side debut against Samoa only a day after arriving in camp as an injury replacement in one of four changes to Bok Women’s coach Lawrence Sephaka’s starting lineup for their penultimate Women’s Rugby World Cup clash.
Mayongo joined the squad at their hotel in Saclay on Tuesday morning as injury cover for prop Asithandile Ntoyanto, who has been forced to return home after suffering a shoulder injury in the round-robin clash against France.
Mayongo trained with the Springbok Women at their two-week World Cup holding camp in Cape Town before their departure for France, and she is no stranger to international rugby after participating in the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in Moscow last year.
She replaces lock Nolusindiso Booi in the starting XV.
The other changes to Sephaka’s squad are on the left wing where Sinazo Nobele, who made her debut against Wales, replaces Phumeza Gadu, while looseforward Shona-Leah Weston has recovered from a rib injury and reclaims her place in the starting team.
In the front row tighthead prop Portia Jonga replaces Cebisa Kula.
“It is sad to lose Asithandile to injury, but we come off three bruising encounters, which has left us with a few injuries and several sore bodies,” said Sephaka.
“So it is good to call on a player like Nomaphelo who is fresh and keen to take to the field. She has fantastic skills and despite her small frame, she is a very physical player, which is what we need against Samoa.
"With regards to the other changes, we felt it was important to manage the players who have had a heavy work-load up to now and this has resulted in Cebisa Kula and Nolusindiso Booi playing off the bench.”
Looking ahead at the Samoa clash Sephaka said it was important for the team to show immense character to keep alive their hopes of improving on their 10th place finish at the 2010 World Cup.
“It is vital that we win our last two matches to salvage something from this World Cup,” said Sephaka.
“We cannot change the results of the previous matches, but we can change our fortunes going forward and that is what we intend to do. Samoa are a physical team and they are equally disappointed about their campaign up to now, so both teams will have something to prove on Wednesday.
"But I believe that if we stick to our structures and improve our execution in all facets of the game, especially our finishing, we could win this clash. We have discussed the mistakes we have made as a team and the players know that we are expecting more from them this week, so it us up to them to show how hungry they are for a victory.”
Springbok Women’s squad to face Samoa:
15 – Cindy Cant
14 – Siviwe Basweni
13 – Zenay Jordaan (capt)
12 – Lorinda Brown
11 – Sinazo Nobele
10 – Zandile Nojoko
9 – Fundiswa Plaatjie
8 – Lamla Momoti
7 – Shona-Leah Weston
6 – Rachelle Geldenhuys
5 – Nomaphelo Mayongo
4 – Celeste Adonis
3 – Portia Jonga
2 – Denita Wentzel
1 – Nwabisa Ngxatu
16 – Thantaswa Macingwana
17 – Cebisa Kula
18 – Nolusindiso Booi
19 – Vuyolwethu Vazi
20 – Tayla Kinsey
21 – Veroeshka Grain
22 – Phumeza Gadu