As Jake White’s men search for their first Tri-Nations win this year, their female counterparts are gearing up for their first taste of Rugby World Cup action.
The IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup is to be played across six match days between 31 August 2006 and 17 September, with the final due to be played at the Commonwealth Stadium.
The Springbok women are ranked 11th out of 12 teams with Samoa the lowest ranked. New Zealand are the top seeds, having won the previous Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2002.
The South African Rugby Union introduced Women’s Rugby back in 2001 on August 9, National Women’s Day and the first ever Springbok Rugby women’s team was selected in May 2004.
Despite their limited experience, the women have fast learned how to absorb pressure against top opposition.
Last April, they won their first ever overseas Test by beating Wales 24-9 at Ebbw Vale Rugby Club, in Cardiff.
South Africa, captained by Eastern Province’s Nomsabenzi Tsotsobe, scored four tries and impressed the crowd with their entertaining brand of rugby.
Tsotsobe will once again lead the Springbok Women at the IRB Women’s World Cup in Edmonton, Canada later this month.
The team’s most recent wins came last month in a two-test home series against the Netherlands. The Springboks won the first test in Port Elizabeth 43-12 and then cruised to a 35-0 second test victory with five unanswered tries in Durban.
The selectors chose a squad of 26 players to participate in the rugby showpiece and the women assembled for a pre-tournament training camp in Bloemfontein from July 16-29.
The squad will gather for an additional training camp from August 8-18 at the High Performance Centre (HPC) in Pretoria and a final training camp from August 21-24 at he HPC.
The squad departs on August 24 for Canada.
Full Springbok women’s squad:
Wendy Adlem (Eastern Province)
Nadine Barnard (Western Province)
Saloma Booysen (Eastern Province)
Ingrid Botha (Blue Bulls)
Ramona Brown (Eastern Province)
Louise Du Pisanie (Free State)
Marie-Lee Erasmus (Eastern Province)
Natasha Hofmeester (Boland)
Siphokazi Jonga (Border)
Wendy Khumalo (Kwa-Zulu Natal)
Cebisa Kula (Border)
Yolandi Marais (Blue Bulls)
Dolly Mavumengwana (Border)
Yolanda Meiring (Blue Bulls)
Lamla Momoti (Eastern Province)
Thenjiwe Ncwadi (Eastern Province)
Marijke Nel (Kwa-Zulu Natal)
Zandile Nojoko (Eastern Province)
Zolisa Noxeke (Border)
Fundiswa Plaatjies (Border)
Magdalena Pylman (Blue Bulls)
Marie Schoeman (Blue Bulls)
Nomsa Tendekwana (Western Province)
Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe (Eastern Province)
Babalwa Vena (Border)
Mandisa Williams (Border)