CAPE TOWN – Springbok Women's Sevens coach Paul Delport may be facing the biggest challenge in his coaching career, but the former Junior Springboks and Springbok Sevens captain was at ease about the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series Qualifier in Hong Kong on Thursday and Friday.
The winner of the qualifier will earn their status as one of the core teams on the Women's World Series.
“Our preparation at home was good and things have gone well since our arrival in Hong Kong on Sunday,” said Delport.
The team has been drawn in Pool A and will face Mexico, Papua New Guinea and Kenya in their group.
“The players are in a good space and they are taking in the vibes of Hong Kong. Only two players have not been here before, which makes it easier, as the tournament and city can become a big deal,” explained Delport.
“We visited the stadium where we will be playing, had a good look-around, got a feel of the place and took in the atmosphere. Before that, we had good, intense training sessions, and now we are counting down to the start of the tournament on Thursday.
“We are as ready as we can be.”
Delport also gave the team time to enjoy being tourists. “They really enjoyed shopping at the markets,” the coach said with a chuckle.
Senior squad member, Zenay Jordaan, who is a playmaker, former team captain and by far the most experienced squad member with 52 matches and 111 points (13 tries, 23 conversions), echoed the coach’s confidence.
“I don't need to do anything as a senior player, as the rest of the team is pretty focussed on their roles,” said Jordaan. “We are all expected to do our bit, but there is no pressure on me to do something special just because I have the most experience.”
Jordaan feels the tour to the Brisbane7Sevens tournament earlier in the year is bearing fruit, as the team has trained well and will be keen to make sure they qualify.
“No one is looking ahead to the Commonwealth Games at this stage,” Jordaan said. “We are approaching this tournament first and we will take it game by game.
“We want to use the momentum picked up in Brisbane, as we got some good results there, but this could be a new start for this squad and we all want to be involved in it,” Jordaan said.
The Springbok Women's Sevens schedule in Hong Kong is:
Thursday, 5 April: (SA times)
04h52: v Mexico
07h26: v Papua New Guinea
10h00: v Kenya