Nadine Roos, Nomsa Mokwai, Christelene Steinhobel and Eloise Webb will make their Springbok Women’s Sevens debuts when they take to the field at the season-opening Dubai leg of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series on 1 and 2 December.
Renfred Dazel, coach of the Bok Women’s Sevens, also decided to name a new captain in Veroeshka Grain, a former winner of the SA Rugby Women’s Achiever Award.
Zintle Mpupha, who was invited to train with the squad last month along with Webb and KwaZulu-Natal’s Zinhle Nawonde, was also named in the team and will play in her second World Series tournament after making her debut in the 2012/2013 Amsterdam Sevens.
Roos, Mokwai and Steinhobel have represented South Africa as members of the SA Select Women’s team in a series of tournaments this season, however, these events did not mark official World Rugby events. Webb’s selection, meanwhile, will mark her first appearance for the national women’s team.
They will, however, be able to draw on the experience of a core group of players in the travelling squad including Grain, Phumeza Gadu, Zenay Jordaan, Jacqueline Kriel and Mathrin Simmers.“We have selected a talented team with a good mix of youth and experience,” said Dazel.
“We have two new faces in the team in Zintle and Eloise, who really impressed me at the Interprovincial Sevens, and I am excited to see what they will offer in Dubai.
“We have also selected a new captain with an eye on the future. Veroeshka has always led by example through her quality of play on the field and she has proven recently that she has good leadership qualities.”
Commenting on the tournament, Dazel expected a challenging Series especially with defending tournament and 2015/16 Series champions, Australia, the USA and Russia in their pool, but he said it would be a good test for his team to measure their quality of play.
“We are expecting to be tested in all the facets of our game,” said Dazel.
“The USA and Russia are physical teams, while Australia’s skills levels are their main strength, so it will be a challenge. We played on the circuit a year and a half ago and we seldom faced so many top teams in one pool. But I believe this will serve as good preparation for what is to come is we are able to qualify for the World Series next year.”
Springbok Women’s Sevens squad for Dubai:
Veroeshka Grain (captain)