The South African Rugby Union has announced a squad of 24 players for the senior Women’s Nations Cup tournament in Toronto, Canada from 2 – 14 August.
There are six players in the squad who did not participate in the 2010 IRB Women’s World Cup tournament in England.
Natasha Hoffmeester, the livewire Western Province utility back, makes a welcome return to the international rugby after she missed the WRWC tournament due to a foot injury. The former SA Women Player of the Year is an experienced campaigner and will add much needed speed and leadership in a youthful looking backline.
The five debutants are: Nwabisa Ngxatu (flank, Border), Denita Wentzel (hooker, Western Province), Sisphosethu Tshangana (scrumhalf, Eastern Province), Lusanda Mtiya (left wing, KwaZulu-Natal) and Janine Felix (inside centre, Western Province).
The women assemble on Wednesday morning in Port Elizabeth for a brief training camp before they head out to Toronto via London and Johannesburg on Saturday evening.
Denver Wannies, the SA Women’s team coach, said he is especially satisfied with the new crop of promising players who have forced their way into the senior squad.
“The core of last year’s team is thankfully still available and we have the added benefit that three of our players, Mandisa Williams, Zenay Jordaan and Fundiswa Plaatjie played some club rugby in Ireland, which can only benefit the team.
“The players worked extremely hard during our two previous training camps and I am happy with the mixture of experience and youth. We also looked at including three of the SA U20 players but logistics would have made it very difficult for them to join us at such short notice,” explained Wannies.
The SA Women’s squad for the IRB Nations Cup in Canada is:
Pulane Motloung, Yolanda Meiring (Blue Bulls), Mandisa Williams, Fundiswa Plaatjie, Ziyanda Tywaleni, Nolusindiso Booi, Nwabisa Ngxatu (Border), Daphne Scheepers, Lamla Momoti, Zandile Nojoko, Phumeza Gadu, Zenay Jordaan, Nomathamsanqa Faleni, Namhla Siyolo, Cebisa Kula, Sisphosethu Tshangana (Eastern Province), Dolly Mavumengwana, Lusanda Mtiya (KwaZulu-Natal), Natasha Hofmeester, Nedene Botha, Laurian Johannes, Denita Wentzel, Janine Felix (Western Province), Onicca Moaga (SWD). Team Management: Denver Wannies (Coach), Dumisani Mhani (Assistant-coach), Denzil van Heerden (Biokineticist), Tanushree Pillay (physiotherapist), Orna Prinsloo (Team Manager).
Meanwhile, the SA Under-20 Women squad arrives back in the country on Tuesday morning from the USA after competing in the U20 Nations Cup in Santa Barbara.
Last Saturday (early morning Sunday, SA time) the SA youngsters lost their last match, the play-off for fourth place, 32-5 against Canada. Although the team lost all four matches, they did gain valuable international experience in their first tournament outing in three years