Springbok Women’s scrumhalf Fundiswa Plaatjie on Friday said her team was determined to finish off the Women’s Rugby World Cup on a high note against Spain on Sunday following their morale-boosting victory against Samoa.
The team will face Spain in the ninth and tenth place play-off at the French Rugby Federation in Marcoussis at 14h00, and should they win the clash, they will record their best finish since their first appearance in the 2006 Women’s Rugby World Cup. South Africa finished 10th in the 2010 World Cup.
With several bumps and bruises after playing four physical clashes in the last 15 days, Plaatjie admitted that her team had to show immense character to secure a victory.
“There are a few players carrying injuries and the bodies are sore after a few physically-taxing weeks, but the team spirit is good and the players realise the importance of finishing the tournament with a win,” said Plaatjie.
“That said, Spain is a quality side and they proved that by thumping Samoa 41-5, so we need to be up for the challenge both mentally and physically. They are particularly good at stringing together phases and their defence is solid, so we will need to match them physically and capitalise on our point-scoring chances to win.”
The Springbok Women returned to training on Friday after a day off in Paris on Thursday, and with the intensity and determination up, Plaatjie hoped they would be able to transfer this onto the field on match day.
“It was great to see the players lift the intensity at training and the fact that we maintained that from start to end was pleasing, so hopefully we can do the same on Sunday,” she said.
“This is my third World Cup and despite the competition being tough the cohesion in the team is good, so it is important that everyone works together and remains focused on the task at hand until Sunday’s match.”
Springbok Women’s head coach Lawrence Sephaka will announce his match 22 to face Spain on Saturday.
The team will depart for South Africa on Monday night and arrive in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning before travelling to their respective provinces.