The Springbok Women’s team has an ace up their sleeve ahead of their Test match against France on Saturday in Vannes in the form of their overseas professional, Zintle Mpupha.
The Springbok Women arrived in Paris on Monday evening from Johannesburg via Frankfurt and awaiting them in the French capital was Mpupha, who had hopped over from England, where she now plays centre for the Exeter Chiefs.
It was a happy reunion for Mpupha and her teammates and they had much to discuss during a five-hour-long bus trip to Vannes.
“It was great seeing the team again; it was like reuniting with your family. There are many familiar faces and I have missed them,” said Mpupha, who broke the national try-scoring record for the Springbok Women's team in her last Test with four tries against Kenya.
Mpupha now hopes that the experiences she has picked up playing in England's top league will enrich the rest of the squad.
“I have certainly informed them of what to expect,” she said. “They will have to cope with different weather conditions, amongst other things, and will have to deliver their best away from home. I am sure if we can adapt quickly as a team, things will go well.”
The 28-year-old said the experience she has gained made her realise that more than anything else, South Africa needs more game time as they ramp up preparations towards next year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
“It was nice to experience the different outlooks and mindsets of my teammates from other countries at the Chiefs and an important thing I picked up is that they play much more rugby than us,” she added.
“They obviously play a lot more than we do, so they have more opportunities to learn from their mistakes, become better players and grow in their roles and positions.
“That is something we do not have much of in South Africa, but apart from that, we think about the game pretty much the same.”
Mpupha has made her debut for her new club already and she will relay those experiences to her teammates as well.
“I have played more recently than them and had that body-to-body contact, so I will be well-prepared and I hope I can lead the way in that regard come Saturday,” she said.