The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has named the SA Women’s Sevens squad for the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series tournament which takes place next weekend in Dubai.
South Africa are one of twelve international sides from six continents that will compete in the historic opening round of the Women’s Series on 30 November and 1 December in the desert city.
The team will again be led by the experienced loose forward Mandisa Williams from Border. Two newcomers will make their international debut in Dubai, namely Bella Benele Makwezela (wing) and Zimkitha Tsilana (loose forward), both from Western Province.
Veteran utility back Yolanda Meiring (Blue Bulls), the recipient of the 2012 SARU Women’s Achiever of the Year Award, skipper Williams and wing Phumeza Gadu provide the necessary experience in a youthful looking squad.
Denver Wannies, coach, said the recent trip to China gave the newcomers a good taste of what to expect in Dubai. “The warm-up tournament in Guangzhou was a very good exercise and, in particular, the newcomers now have a much better understanding of what is required to play at this level.
“Our biggest concern at the moment is the lack of game time since the 2009 World Cup in Dubai, where we reached the semi-finals. However, our players usually adapt well to the dry climate of Dubai so we will be looking to our previous results there to provide extra motivation against some very tough opposition.”
Regarding the composition of the squad, Wannies said: “We have a nice balance of youth and experience in the squad and I am confident that the players will give a good account of themselves. England are the clear tournament favourites, Spain have a promising squad while Brazil will be looking to lay a good foundation for the 2016 Olympic Games. Our aim is to qualify for the knockout phase, but to do that we will have to be very competitive on day one.”
Team departure to Dubai is on Monday at 7.15pm from the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
The SA Sevens Women’s squad for Dubai:
Yolanda Meiring (Blue Bulls)
Mandisa Williams (Border, captain)
Nwabisa Ngxatu (Border)
Ziyanda Tywaleni (Border)
Nosiphiwo Goda (Border)
Fundiswa Plaatjie (Border)
Zenay Jordaan (Eastern Province)
Phumeza Gadu (Eastern Province)
Natasha Hofmeester (Western Province)
Bella Benele Makwezela (Western Province)
Zimkitha Tsilana (Western Province)
Mathrin Simmers (SWD)
Denver Wannies Coach
Orna Prinsloo Team Manager
Tanushree Pillay Physiotherapist
Denzil van Heerden Biokineticist
IRB Women’s Sevens World Series
Round 1 – UAE: Dubai, November 30 – December 1, 2012 – 7he Sevens Stadium
Round 2 – USA: Houston, Texas, 1-2 February, 2013 - BBVA Compass Stadium
Round 3 – China: Guangzhou, 30-31 March 2013 - Guangzhou University Town Stadium
Round 4 – Netherlands: Amsterdam, 17-18 May 2013 - NRCA Stadium