The SA Select Women's team will face a Spain Invitational XV in Port Elizabeth. Photo: @WomenBoks on twitter

PORT ELIZABETH – SA Select Women’s coach Eddie Myners named a group of young players for their match against the Spain Invitational XV at the WJ de Wet Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, with five Springbok Women’s players forming the spine of the team.

The side, being coached by Myners and his assistant coach Lungisa Kama, will be led by Sizophila Solontsi (No 8), with Kirsten Conrad (flyhalf) as her vice-captain. They are joined by capped Springbok Women’s players, Annique Geswind (hooker), Onaka Jita (prop) and Nqobile Mhlangu (winger) in the starting line-up.

The Qawe twins – Chuma (fullback) and Chumisa (centre) – and Unam Tose (scrumhalf), meanwhile, are among a handful of exciting young players who will represent the SA Select Women’s team for the first time.

The replacements feature mainly Springbok Women’s players, including captain Babalwa Latsha (prop) and Tayla Kinsey (scrumhalf), but Myners said the main objective of this match is to expose the new young players to rugby at this level.

“We have a nice mix of players in the squad, with some exciting youngsters and a little bit of experience as well,” said Myners. 

“But it is clear from the starting lineup that our focus in this match is to give the young players an opportunity to test themselves at this level.

“We have a few experienced Springbok Women’s players on the bench, but the idea is for them to guide the young players so that they can adapt to the game at this level with ease.”

Myners expected the Spain Invitational XV to provide a good test for his charges, but he predicted that it would be a competitive match after the steady strides made his players at training since gathering in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

“The Spanish teams in general are quality sides, as we saw on tour last year,” said Myners.

“Their set pieces are good and they can play across the field, so we are expecting a good contest all around.  That said, we are impressed with the progress we have made as a team this week.

“Once could sense on Monday that it was a new environment and different level of training for the new players, but I am pleased with the way we wrapped up training on Thursday afternoon. The players know what we expect from them and they appear to be enjoying the challenge of being at this level, which is fantastic.”

The SA Select Women will complete their preparations on Friday at captain’s run. Saturday’s match kicks off at 3pm.

SA Select Women’s team: 

15 Chuma Qawe, 14 Piwokuhle Nyanda, 13 Chumisa Qawe, 12 Sesethu Mtshazi, 11 Nqobile Mhlangu, 10 Kirsten Conrad, 9 Unam Tose, 8 Sizophila Solontsi (captain), 7 Phelisa Mrwebi, 6 Buhlebethu Sonamzi, 5 Noluthando Mbambo, 4 Prelene Pegram, 3 Noxolo Mankayi, 2 Annique Geswind, 1 Onaka Jita.

Replacements: 16 Monica Mazibukwana, 17 Yonela Ngxingolo, 18 Babalwa Latsha, 19 Nomsa Mokwai, 20 Nompumelelo Mathe, 21 Tayla Kinsey, 22 Vuyolwethu Maqholo, 23 Aphiwe Ngwevu. 

African News Agency (ANA)