SA Select Women’s coach Renfred Dazel has called up Christelene Steinhobel as a replacement for Rachelle Geldenhuys in the only change to his squad for the Hokkaido Invitational Sevens in Japan.
The team, who were triumphant in the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens in Zimbabwe last weekend, arrived in Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, on Wednesday.
The Hokkaido Sevens, which features eight Japanese Club Teams, two New Zealand teams and an Australian side, will kick off on Friday and conclude on Saturday.
Geldenhuys suffered concussion in the Rugby Africa Sevens, which has ruled her out of the tour to Japan. This prompted Dazel to call up Steinhobel, who was a member of the SA Select team that won the Hong Kong Invitational in April.
“Christelene has been in the set-up for a while and she has played in a tournament this year, so I have no doubt that she will slot in with ease,” said Dazel.Commenting on the tournament, Dazel said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the team and we are excited about the prospect of lining up against new opposition teams. Everyone is aware of the big strides made in Japanese rugby at all levels of the game in the last two seasons, so we know they will test us, as will the New Zealand and Australian teams.
“It will be challenging physically and mentally after the quick turnaround following the Rugby Africa Sevens, so it will be important to manage the players well when we arrive in Hokkaido. That said we are very excited about taking to the field.
“We gelled well in the Rugby Africa Sevens following a two-month off-season, and that combined with the confidence gained by advancing through the tournament unbeaten, will certainly benefit the team.”
SA Select Women’s team for the Hokkaido Sevens: