Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel hopes the team’s good luck in Hong Kong will continue this week as they battle it out for a place on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series at the Qualifier tournament on Thursday and Friday.
South Africa will face Italy, Papua New Guinea and Colombia in the pool stages on Thursday at the So Kon Po Recreation Ground. The quarter-finals will be played at the same ground on Friday, while the semi-finals and final will be hosted at the Hong Kong Stadium later in the day.
The Springbok Women’s Sevens have to win the competition to qualify for the 2017/18 Women’s World Series. The winning team at the Qualifier will also secure an invite to the 2016/17 World Series finale in France in June.
“Hong Kong has treated us well over the last few years,” said Dazel.“We qualified for the World Rugby Women’s World Series in Hong Kong three years ago and we won the Hong Kong Invitational tournament last year. Hopefully we can build on that this week as we play for a place on the Women’s World Series.”
Dazel was satisfied with the team’s preparation for the tournament and said it was now up to the players to fly the flag.
“Our preparation has been good, and we were fortunate to get three key players back from injury in Veroeshka (Grain), Nadine (Roos) and Zenay (Jordaan), which is encouraging,” said the coach.
“With Veroeshka being the captain, the momentum and leadership she will provide, in particular, is tremendous. But they are all key players in the squad will have an important role to play.
“In general, however, we have confidence in our plans and how we would like to play, and it is now a matter of implementing that on the field.”
Dazel was open about the fact that he expected a tough challenge in the pool stages and said: “We do not have footage on Columbia, but we played against Italy in the Roma Sevens last year, so we have an idea of how they play.
“We have also analysed Papua New Guinea’s game and they have a top player in Joanne Laguna, who is very fast and was named in the dream team for the Sydney Sevens, so players like Veroeshka and Mathrin (Simmers) who will play opposite her, will have their work cut out.”
Springbok Women’s Sevens fixtures (SA Time):
Thursday, 6 April
16h22 – SA v Italy
18h44 – SA v Papua New Guinea
21h18 – SA v Columbia
Springbok Women’s Sevens team:
Veroeshka Grain (Captain)