The Springbok Women’s Sevens received a big boost ahead of their Rugby Africa tournament in Harare this weekend as experienced campaigners Veroeshka Grain, Zenay Jordaan and Marithy Pienaar reclaimed their places in the squad following injury-layoffs.
Grain and Jordaan missed the Roma Sevens in June due to knee injuries, while Pienaar returns to action after breaking a bone in her hand. The Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens tournament takes place in the Zimbabwean capital on Saturday and Sunday.
All three players have been members of the team’s leadership core in the last few seasons, and they will inject skill and experience into the side, which will be invaluable following a two-month off-season.They will be joined by a number of other experienced players including Lorinda Brown – who retains the captaincy – Phumeza Gadu, Jacqueline Kriel, Mathrin Simmers and Rachelle Geldenhuys.
The Springbok Women’s Sevens will face Zimbabwe, Senegal and Namibia in the pool stages on Saturday, while the finals will be hosted on Sunday.
“We have only been together for two weeks following a two-month break, so it is good to have some of our experienced players back,” said Dazel.
“Zenay, Marithy and Veroeshka have been key players in the team for a few seasons, and their experience will be beneficial as we look to make our presence felt against our African neighbours.
“We have no doubt that we will have a mark on our backs going into the competition, and we have learned through experience that the rivalry in the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens is particularly intense, so we have to make our presence felt from the outset.”
Despite having only two weeks to work on their patterns and systems, Dazel was confident that the team had the goods to reclaim the title they won in 2014, 2011, 2008, 2007 and 2006.
“We have settled squad with a core group of players that have been together for a few seasons, while the newer players have been part of the squad since January, so they know what to expect from each other,” said Dazel.
“As a group we know what is expected of us and we know what we are capable of achieving, so if we trust in our systems and play to our potential, we believe we have what it takes to win the title.”
Springbok Women’s Sevens team for Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens:
Springbok Women’s Sevens fixtures (Saturday, 17 September):
11h00 – South Africa vs Zimbabwe
12h20 – South Africa vs Senegal
14h40 – South Africa vs Namibia