A group of 25 women rugby players have been invited by national coach Denver Wannies to an off-season training camp in Port Elizabeth next week as they keep up preparations in advance of the 2012 season.
The camp will run from 12-14 December and Wannies has decided to add eight players to his squad. Seven of them have graduated from the Under-20 ranks – Marithy Pienaar, Dineo Rammulta, Siviwe Basweni, Thandeka Feni, Sisphosethu Tshangana, Masabata Sempe and Jamie Lee Norton – while Nolusindiso Booi is back in the national mix.
Preliminary plans are in hand to invite a team to play two Tests in South Africa next season, according to Mahlubi Puzi, Manager of Women’s Rugby at the South African Rugby Union.
“We need to ensure we keep our squad in shape and build on what has been achieved earlier this year at the Nations Cup, in preparation for next season,” said Puzi.
“We would like to raise the awareness of women’s rugby and the national team here in South Africa, because they always play away from home. So we’ve made plans to play two tests at home in 2012, but our opponents still have to be confirmed. We are also trying to initiate an African Nations Cup, which we would host against Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe.”
Puzi added that 2012 will be very important as the two senior national women’s teams build towards the Sevens Rugby World Cup (2013 in Russia), the Women’s World Cup (2014 in France) and ultimately the 2016 Olympic Gamesin Brazil.
The SA Women’s Squad is:
Mpho Moloto, Marithy Pienaar, Dineo Rammulta (all Blue Bulls); Chrisna van Slicht (Boland); Fundiswa Plaatjie, Nolusindiso Booi, Siviwe Basweni (all Border); Portia Jonga, Namhla Siyolo, Mascinge Kona, Cebisa Kula, Daphne Scheepers, Thandeka Feni, Sisphosethu Tshangana (all Eastern Province); Nedene Botha, Masabata Sempe (both Free State); Pulane Motloung (Golden Lions); Masabata Finger (Griffons); Lusanda Mtiya, Dolly Mavumengwana, Jamie Lee Norton (all KwaZulu-Natal); Ester Mahlangu (Mpumalanga); Laurian Johannes, Denita Wentzel, Natasha Hofmeester (all Western Province).
Team Management: Denver Wannies (National Coach), Tanushree Pillay (Physiotherapist), Denzil van Heerden (Biokineticist).