The form book and ranking at the Rugby World Cup Women’s Sevens tournament suggest that the Springbok Women’s Sevens team will find it tough to beat Russia when the two countries meet in an early game at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Friday.
The Russians are rated amongst the top five teams in the world, while the South Africans are just outside the top ten.
But Marithy Pienaar, a former SA Rugby Women’s Player of the Year and experienced Springbok Women’s Sevens player, feels that they are ready to turn that around when they face the Russians in the USA this weekend.
“We are certainly not the favourites in this match,” said Pienaar.
“They have a better rating than us at the tournament and are regulars on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, which means they are playing at a high level quite often.
“I can only speak on behalf of our team, but I think we are well prepared for this Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament. We have worked hard over the last couple of months and came to San Francisco with some very clear objectives in mind.”
One of those are to prove to themselves at they are indeed good enough to play against the top countries in the world, and another is to beat teams ranked higher than themselves.
“Russia is a core team on the circuit, so beating them would be a massive boost for us,” said Pienaar.
“We are under no illusions about the tournament and accept the fact that we are not expected to win a medal. We need to make a point though and this is the ideal opportunity for us.
“To top that, we are also playing for our country and to make the people back home proud to be associated with that. That is a powerful driving force. So we are really keen to go out and impress.”