PRETORIA – The UP-Tuks women's Sevens side are relishing the chance to test their skills against the SA women's Sevens team at the Tuks Sevens tournament at the University of Pretoria fields on Saturday.
On a good day, there is a real chance that Tuks could give the Boks a run for their money as they proved themselves to be the top team locally. Over the last few years, the hosts have hardly been beaten.
The team also has a good track record when it comes to playing internationally. Last year Tuks won two of the seven international tournaments they contested and finished runners-up twice, as well as placing third on one occasion.
Tuks and the Springboks have clashed once before in Dubai. Tuks women's coach Riaan van der Merwe remembers it as being quite an intense encounter with the Boks taking the victory in the dying moments.
Although Van der Merwe is hoping for a repeat performance from his team, he has remained realistic and admitted that the Boks in all likelihood would retake the honours.
“The last thing the Springboks want is to go down against a club team. For that reason I expect them to come out guns blazing at us, but my players have never shied away from a real challenge.
"Unfortunately for us, we are in a rebuilding phase," said van der Merwe. "Kemi Baloyi is the only player in our team who has been playing for more than one year. Our captain, Libbie Janse van Rensburg, is currently in New Zealand while Nadine Roos is playing for the Boks. When Janse van Rensburg and Roos are playing for Tuks, we are guaranteed to at least score 10 to 15 points in each game."
“As things stand we don’t have a recognised fly half. Kemi who usually plays as a forward has got to make the decisions. She is not doing badly. Last Saturday we managed to beat the University of Bordeaux quite convincingly on two occasions with Kemi playing fly half. We beat the University of Bordeaux again this week.”
Tuks and the French team have been involved in quite a ding dong battle over the last six days having played each other on four occasions. Van der Merwe is adamant that the results are not an accurate reflection of what has been happening on the field.
“When the need arises Bordeaux is able to take their game to the next level. They proved it on Monday night when they thrashed us 31-0 during the chief curtain raiser for the Varsity Cup encounter between Tuks and Wits. They are after all one of the top club teams in France."
“I think even the Blitzboks will need to be wary when they play against Bordeaux on Saturday," said Van der Merwe.
"The French have got four speedy backline players. If they get through a gap, it is hard to stop them from scoring.”
Ten women’s teams will be in action on Saturday. It includes a team from Botswana. The SA women’s side's first game is at 08:00 against UJ. Tuks and the Boks will probably only clash in the playoffs.
There is also a men’s tournament in which Bordeaux could prove to be difficult to beat.
African News Agency (ANA)