The Springbok Women’s Sevens squad depart for Hong Kong today for the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series Qualifier determined to make their presence felt with the greater goal of possibly qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
South Africa will face France, Mexico and China in the pool stages of the Qualifier, which features 12 teams and takes place on September 12 and 13. The team has to finish in the top four to secure a place on the 2014/2015 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series circuit.
The top four teams on the log table at the end of the 2014/2015 season will qualify automatically for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Failure to qualify for the World Series would mean South Africa would have to rely on invites in order to participate in some IRB World Series tournaments and they would have to pursue a different route to possibly qualifying for the international spectacle in 2016.
Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel selected 12 players for the tour following a two-week training camp in Cape Town, which includes regular Sevens stars, captain Zenay Jordaan, Lorinda Brown, Phumeza Gadu and Veroeshka Grain. Utility player Shona Leah-Weston and prop Nwabisa Ngxatu, meanwhile, made comebacks into the squad after focusing on the 15-a-side code in the last year.
Dazel was optimistic that the team could qualify for the World Series, but he admitted that they would it take a massive effort from his charges.
“We have worked very hard in the last two weeks to improve our fitness and skills levels and I am pleased with the commitment and determination the players have shown,” said Dazel. “We all understand the importance of advancing to the semifinal of the competition with an eye on possible Olympic qualification, so the team has all the motivation they need to prove that they deserve to be on the IRB World Series circuit.
“That said the players know that achieving this will take a massive effort, so hopefully they can replicate the high tempo rugby and show the mental strength they displayed at the training camp in their matches. I have no doubt that we could do well if the players stick to the structures and believe in themselves.”
Springbok Women’s Sevens squad for IRB World Series Qualifier: Lorinda Brown, Phumeza Gadu, Rachelle Geldenhuys, Nosiphiwo Goda, Veroeshka Grain, Zenay Jordaan (Captain), Nwabisa Ngxatu, Sinazo Nobele, Marithy Pienaar, Fundiswa Plaatjie, Mathrin Simmers and Shona-Leah Weston.