Springbok women on a mission to find playing identity in Spain

Bok captain Nolusindiso Booi says the team backs new coach Louis Koen. Picture: Shaun Roy BackpagePix

Bok captain Nolusindiso Booi says the team backs new coach Louis Koen. Picture: Shaun Roy BackpagePix

Published Mar 15, 2023


Durban - The Springbok women’s team have left Cape Town for two Test matches in Spain and coach Louis Koen says the goal is to establish a distinct playing identity.

The tourists will first train against Wales in London on Saturday before travelling to Madrid for Tests against Canada on March 25 and Spain on April 1.

For Koen, who will be assisted by Junior Springbok women's coach Laurian Johannes-Haupt, the main aim is to return home an improved team from the one that played poorly at last year's World Cup in New Zealand.

“The fact that most of the team have experienced the World Cup and what levels are required is a good thing,” said Koen. “This tour is to expand the Test match experience and player base, hence a number of uncapped selections.”

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Koen said history has shown that teams with experienced players in key positions do better in high-pressure situations.

“The England side was a good example of a team that was built over years — they had close to 1 200 caps when they arrived in New Zealand last year,” Koen explained.

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“Our squad is at 273 caps, with the next World Cup two years away. Even if we play 10 Tests a year, we will still be inexperienced, but come 2029, we could have a highly competitive squad.

“On this tour, we will take small steps and concentrate on doing the basics well. We want to work on a playing style that will be good enough to draw spectators and inspire young girls to take up the sport.”

Bok captain Nolusindiso Booi, the most experienced player in the squad with 33 caps, said the team have aligned with Koen's vision.

“Since coach Louis took over, we have been exposed to numerous rugby realities,” Booi said.

“We realised our conditioning is not good enough because we have not played since September last year, but we have worked hard in camp to get a competitive edge and two recent training matches gave us some confidence for the tour.”

Booi said the players back Koen completely and are ready to execute his vision.

“We ended last year on a low and we disappointed a lot of those who support us — we now have an opportunity to start building again and improving,” said Booi.


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