The Springbok Women’s Sevens this week stepped up their preparations for the World Rugby Women’s Sevens World Series in Brazil on February 7 and 8 as coach Renfred Dazel invited reinforcements, SA Under-20 fullback Kirsten Conrad and Bok Women’s lock Nolusindiso Booi, to train with the squad with an eye on boosting their depth early in the season.
The team assembled at their base in Stellenbosch on January 5 following their festive season break.
South Africa will face England, Canada and Russia in the pool stages of the tournament.
The Brazil leg will mark the second tournament on the World Series circuit, and with this season being particularly significant for the teams as the top four sides on the log table at the end of the season will qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the team will be determined to start the year on a high note.
Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel said on Friday the players’ fitness levels and the tempo of their training sessions were impressive and he hoped they would be able to transfer that form onto the field in Sao Paulo.
“The team has made good strides since assembling early last week,” said Dazel. “Our training sessions have been solid, the team is a tight-knit unit, and the players are determined to do well, so the building blocks are in place. The ladies have also had the luxury of working with former Springbok Sevens player Paul Delport, who has introduced a few fresh ideas.”
After going down against Brazil in the Bowl Final of the season-opening Dubai event in December Dazel said his team would be better prepared mentally for the Sao Paulo tournament.
“We took several lessons out of the Dubai tournament so I have no doubt we will be better prepared for Brazil,” said Dazel. “That said we are aware that we face a tough draw with England, Canada and Russia in our pool, but the advantage of that is that it will give us an opportunity to test ourselves against other quality teams. We have been working hard at training and the players know what to expect in Brazil, so our focus will be to continue putting in the hard yards on the training field and hopefully the results will follow.”
The main injury concern in the camp is utility back Sinazo Nobele who is nursing a shoulder injury, but Dazel will make a call on her availability next week.