JOHANNESBURG – Nolusindiso Booi will lead a Springbok Women’s team featuring youth and experience on their tour to Europe in the next three weeks, alongside vice-captains, Zintle Mpupha – who is also the Springbok Women’s Sevens captain – and Babalwa Latsha.
Springbok women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer finalised his squad of 28 players for their four-match tour on Monday, which includes clashes against the UK Armed Forces in London on Friday, Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday, November 10, Spain in Villajoyosa on Saturday, November 17, and Italy in Prato on Sunday, November 25.
Several players in Raubenheimer’s squad boast international experience, with Booi, Tayla Kinsey, Fundiswa Plaatjie and Thantaswa Macingwana having played in the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup, while six players have represented the Springbok Women’s Sevens, namely Kirsten Conrad, Nosiphiwo Goda, Latsha, Mpupha, Zinhle Ndawonde and Snenhlanhla Shozi.
“I am pleased with the quality of the team,” said Raubenheimer. “There is a good mix of youth and experience, which is perfect as we start building towards something bigger and better for women’s rugby in South Africa.
“Several players have come through the Under-18 to Under-20 structures and they now have the opportunity to show what they can do on an international level, which is encouraging.”
Raubenheimer emphasised the importance of having an experienced captain after entrusting Booi with that responsibility and said: “It is always important to have experience in the group, especially if one considers that we last played an official Test match four years ago.
“Cindy was part of the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup squad, along with players like Fundiswa, Tayla and Thantaswa, and their experience is going to be vital in guiding the young players on tour.”
Commenting on their training camp in Stellenbosch, Raubenheimer said: “One would always like more time to prepare, but I am pleased with what we put in place at our training camp.
“The enthusiasm the players showed at training and their excitement about being part of the squad is fantastic, and that is a good sign as we embark on this tour. We have done everything we can at home, and now it is time to implement that which we have been working on at training on the field.”
Raubenheimer said the tour will serve as a good marker to measure the team.
“I am not really sure what to expect over there because we have been out of the international arena for a while now, and this is my first time at the helm with the Springbok Women’s team,” he said. “But what I am certain about it is that it will be a tough tour as Wales, Italy and Spain played in the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup. So this tour will serve as a fantastic platform to measure where we are in terms of the current international standards.”
Raubenheimer and his charges will depart for London in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
The Springbok Women’s touring squad (in alphabetical order) is:
Nolusindiso Booi (captain), Kirsten Conrad, Karthy Dludla, Lusanda Dumke, Annique Geswind, Nosiphiwo Goda, Lindelwa Gwala, Aseza Hele, Alana-Lee Horne, Felicia Jacobs, Charmaine Kayser, Tayla Kinsey, Babalwa Latsha, Thantaswa Macingwana, Kamohele Makoele, Nthabiseng Marutla, Vuyolwethu Maqholo, Sinazo Mcatshulwa, Pennbry McNamara, Katlego Moremi, Zintle Mpupha, Zinhle Ndawonde, Demi Nel, Aphiwe Ngwevu, Yonela Ngxingolo, Fundiswa Plaatjie, Snenhlanhla Shozi, Bernice Strydom.
African News Agency (ANA)