Eastern Province lock Nomathamsanga Faleni and Blue Bulls back Voyulwethu Vazi have joined the Springbok Women’s Sevens training squad in Port Elizabeth this week as they begin final preparations for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow from June 29 to 30.
They are part of a the squad of 16 ladies invited by Springbok Women Sevens coach Denver Wannies to the camp, with the squad set to be reduced to 12 players by June 20 when they join their male counterparts in a holding camp in Johannesburg before jetting off to Moscow on June 24.
Unfortunately for Wannies back Sinazo Nobele (dislocated elbow) and forward Shona-Leah Weston (lower grade ACL) suffered injuries during a training game against a Uitenhage-based Under-16 boys team on Tuesday, but both players are expected to recover in time for the tournament.
Weston is expected to be sidelined for a week, while Wannies hoped Nobele would be able to train within 10 days.
Commenting on their preparation, Wannies said: “I am confident about how things are going. The ladies are working hard and they are beginning to gel as a unit. Obviously the injuries were not ideal, but the team doctor believes the players will have sufficient time to recover, which is good news.”
Following the team’s performance in the final leg of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in Amsterdam last month, where they suffered defeats in all three round-robin matches on day one, Wannies said it was important to rectify the problem areas in their game in the next few weeks.
“We have been working hard on our contact play, defence and rucks this week, and we will continue to iron out the problems as the tournament approaches,” said Wannies. “Our defence, in particular, was a problem in Amsterdam, so that will be a key area for us. The players will be the first to admit that we let ourselves down in Amsterdam and we are determined to make a statement in Moscow. A wounded team can be a dangerous, so hopefully we will be at our best.”
The Springbok Women Sevens face Ireland in their opening match on June 29, followed by clashes against China and defending champions Australia in the round-robin stages.