Bok Women Will Not Stop Fighting for HSBC SVNS Qualification in Madrid

South Africa training session prior to the HSBC SVNS, at the Mariachis Polo Club on 27 May, 2024 in Madrid, Spain. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

The Springbok Women’s Sevens squad understand very well what is at stake in Madrid this weekend, and are adamant it will be a matter of fight – not flight – in their quest for survival in their approach to this weekend’s HSBC SVNS play-off tournament.

World Rugby’s Challenger 2024 Series qualfiers China, Poland, Argentina and Belgium gear up to take on the 2024 HSBC SVNS’s 9th-12th placed finishers, South Africa, Brazil, Spain and Japan, in the season’s relegation / promotion tournament in search of entry to the code’s premiere division

In the HSBC SVNS’ series concluding leg’s Championship tournament, New Zealand take on USA, Canada and Great Britain in Pool A, and Australia face France, Fiji and Ireland in Pool B.

South Africa will face Argentina, Belgium and Brazil in Qualifier Pool B play and need to win those matches, and the resulting quarter-final to preserve their status on the world series.

For two experienced campaigners, Eloise Webb and Libbie Janse van Rensburg, it will be all about the squad’s needs and how to get to their objective of surviving the play-offs and remain a core team in the 2025 season, rather than personal achievement or glory.

“We know what is at stake,” Webb said after the squad had a warm-up match against Japan earlier on Tuesday.

“We need to finish in the top four and for that, we need to win our first four matches. There is no other way, and we are not approaching it otherwise.”

Women Boks’ Eloise Webb

“Our first game against Argentina will have to set the tone, and we then face Belgium and Brazil before the quarter-final. We are not backing away from this fight.

“We are not a team to shy away from danger and it is definitely fight before flight for us. We realise we play not only for ourselves, but also for the people back home. Young girls can now watch us play on TV and we need to inspire them to take up the game as well. To be able to do that, we need to make sure we stay on the circuit.”

Webb insists their approach will not be emotional: “We will have a measured approach, as we have learnt some lessons over the last season. This team really play for each other and that makes it worth the effort.

“It is such a great feeling when we bring it together from the training field to match day. One of the important lessons learnt was that you cannot look further than the next game. You play minute to minute, game for game and do not make one game bigger than the next. That will be the focus again,” added Webb.

Janse van Rensburg said the forced injury lay-off following a groin operation almost six months ago was frustrating, but now that she is back in the squad for the first time since the opening tournament of the series in Dubai, she realizes it was an uplifting experience too.

“You could see how the squad improved – it happened right in front of our eyes,” said Janse van Rensburg. “At every tournament a new aspect of play was experienced and mastered, and the team grew.

“We have a good idea what to expect this weekend. We experienced the knock-out element of this tournament in the Challenger Series last year. We responded well back then, and I know we can do that again.”

Janse van Rensburg believes those experiences will be rewarded: “The added experience of regularly playing against the top sides in the world gave us confidence that we can stay in the series. We know what is at stake and how important it is to stay here. We will fight until the end to be successful.

“This tournament is not about individuals. Yes, everyone needs to bring their particular skill set to the squad, but we will have to fight as a team to be successful, something I know this squad is capable of.”

HSBC SVNS Play-Off and Championship Tournament in Madrid, Spain, from 31 May to 2 June, 2024

Qualifier Pool A

1. Japan
2. Spain
3. China
4. Poland

Qualifier Pool B

1. Brazil
2. South Africa
3. Argentina
4. Belgium

Championship Pool A

1. New Zealand
2. USA
3. Canada
4. Great Britain

Championship Pool B

1. Australia
2. France
3. Fiji
4. Ireland

Qualifier Pool B Fixtures (CAT Times)

Friday 31 May

12:00pm South Africa v Argentina
12:22pm Brazil v Belgium
3:06pm South Africa v Belgium
3:28pm Brazil v Argentina

Saturday 1 June

1:28pm Argentina v Belgium
1:51pm Brazil v South Africa

Original Copy: SA Rugby Communications, with editing by gsport

Main Photo Caption: South Africa training session prior to the HSBC SVNS, at the Mariachis Polo Club on 27 May, 2024 in Madrid, Spain. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Photo 2 Caption: The Women Bok Sevens start their campaign against Argentina at noon (SA time) on Friday. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Photo 3 Caption: South Africa play their second Pool B fixture against Belgium, before a final pool match against Brazil on Saturday. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

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