CAPE TOWN – Springbok Sevens Women’s player Marithy Pienaar says they have a point to prove at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco this weekend, and beating Russia would be a good place to start.
The South Africans - who are seeded 13th for the tournament - are the underdogs going into the match against Russia - who are seeded fourth. And while those numbers alone suggest that the Springbok Sevens Women’s side will a tough time in their opening match at AT&T Park on Friday, Pienaar made it clear that they have a few tasks to ace in the northern-California city.
“We are certainly not the favourites in this match,” said Pienaar. “Russia is a core team on the circuit, so beating them would be a massive boost for us,” Pienaar said.
“They have a better rating than us at the tournament and are regulars on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, which means they are playing at a high level quite often. We are under no illusions about the tournament and accept the fact that we are not expected to win a medal. We need to make a point though and this is the ideal opportunity for us.
“To top that, we are also playing for our country and to make the people back home proud to be associated with that. That is a powerful driving force. So we are really keen to go out and impress.”
Pienaar - a former SA Rugby Women’s Player of the Year and experienced Springbok Women’s Sevens member - was also confident about the preparations they’ve put in ahead of the World Cup.
“I can only speak on behalf of our team, but I think we are well prepared for this Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament. We have worked hard over the last couple of months and came to San Francisco with some very clear objectives in mind.”