Springbok Women’s coach Lawrence Sephaka on Tuesday named 11 players with World Cup experience in his 26-member squad for the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in France from 1 to 17 August. The team’s participation in the tournament has been made possible by a R2,3m grant from the National Lotto Distribution Trust Fund.
(Scroll down for the Bok Womens’ group-stage fixtures, tournament knock-out matches and team list)
The squad will be led by experienced captain and No 8 Mandisa Williams, who guided the team in the 2010 showpiece in the UK as well as the 2013 IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow.
Four of the eleven players with World Cup experience featured in both the 2006 and 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup tournaments in Canada and England respectively. They are Williams, flank Lamla Momoti, prop Cebisa Kula and scrumhalf Fundiswa Plaatjie.
The other World Cup survivors are prop Portia Jonga, locks Nomathamsanqa Faleni and Nolusindiso Booi, flyhalf Zenay Jordaan, wing Phumeza Gadu and centres Ziyanda Tywaleni and Lorinda Brown.
Another two players in the squad, wing Veroeshka Grain and centre Benele Makwezela, boast Rugby World Cup Sevens experience, as they were members of the squad that travelled to Russia last year.
This group of players will form the core of the squad, as their experience will be vital given the challenging pool South Africa have been drawn in with Australia, World Cup hosts France, and Wales.
The squad has a split of 14 forwards and 12 backs, while Border and Eastern Province account for the most players in the squad, with ten from Border and six from Eastern Province.
“These players have worked very hard and have made many sacrifices in the last few months to work their way into contention for places in the World Cup squad, and their selection is just reward for those efforts,” said Sephaka.
“Our main selection criteria were consistency in performances this season, and to select players with the best skills and technique, and I believe we achieved that with this group of players.
“That said, there is hard work ahead in the next six weeks to ensure that we are at our best when we take to the field in our opening match against Australia on 1 August. Although I am pleased with our preparation in the last few months, we need to step it up to a higher level now, and our warm-up tour to London and France in the next few weeks, will allow us to do this.”
SARU CEO Jurie Roux congratulated the players on their selection and encouraged them to give their best at the international spectacle.
“It is a huge honour to represent one’s country, and to do so at a World Cup is a privilege only a select few are afforded, so congratulations to the players,” said Roux.
“The team certainly faces a tough task given the challenging pool they have been drawn in, but we will be behind them all the way with the rest of the country. With women’s rugby being only 10 years old in South Africa, we are aware that we cannot expect miracles. However, we would like to see the team improve on their past performances. I wish the team well in their World Cup campaign.”
The Springbok Women finished in 10th place in the 2010 World Cup, with their only victory in the pool stages being against Wales.
All of the players with the exception of centre Ziyanda Tywaleni, centre Marithy Pienaar and scrumhalf Siphosethu Tshingana will assemble in Pretoria on Wednesday for a training camp in Pretoria followed by the warm-up tour to London and France from 25 June to 5 July.
The World Cup squad will gather again in Cape Town on 14 July for their World Cup holding camp, and are set to depart for France on 27 July for the tournament.
Springbok Women’s 2014 WRWC Group-Stage Pool C Fixtures: Friday, 1 August, 15h45: Springbok Women v Australia – Marcoussis Tuesday, August 5, 20h45: Springbok Women v France – Marcoussis Saturday, August 9, 17h00: Springbok Women v Wales – Marcoussis Wednesday, 13 August: 14h00: 10th Seed v 11th Seed – Marcoussis 16h15: 9th Seed v 12th Seed – Marcoussis 18h30: 6th Seed v 7th Seed – Marcoussis 15h45: 5th Seed v 8th Seed – Stade Jean Bouin Semifinal 1: 18h00 – 2nd Seed v 3rd Seed – Stade Jean Bouin Semifinal 2: 20h45 – 1st Seed v 4th Seed – Stade Jean Bouin Sunday, 17 August: 16h30: 3rd/4th place playoff – Stade Jean Bouin 18h45: Final – Stade Jean Bouin Springbok Women’s Rugby World Cup Squad (alphabetical order): Forwards: Celeste Adonis (Western Province) Nolusindiso Booi (Border) Nomathamsanqa Faleni (Eastern Province) Rachelle Geldenhuys (Blue Bulls) Portia Jonga (Eastern Province) Cebisa Kula (Eastern Province) Thantaswa Macingwana (Border) Lamla Momoti (Border) Nwabisa Ngxatu (Border) Asithandile Ntoyanto (Border) Vuyolwethu Vazi (Blue Bulls) Denita Wentzel (Western Province) Shona-Leah Weston (Blue Bulls) Mandisa Williams (Border, captain) Backs: Siviwe Basweni (Border) Lorinda Brown (Eastern Province) Cindy Cant (Blue Bulls) Phumeza Gadu (Eastern Province) Veroeshka Grain (Western Province) Zenay Jordaan (Border) Tayla Kinsey (KwaZulu-Natal) Benele Makwezela (Western Province) Fundiswa Plaatjie (Border) Marithy Pienaar (Blue Bulls) Siphosethu Tshingana (Eastern Province) Ziyanda Tywaleni (Border) Management Team: Lawrence Sephaka (head coach) Renfred Dazel (assistant coach) Heyno Kraft (biokineticist) Tanushree Pillay (physiotherapist) Jerome Mampane (team doctor) Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe-Calata (manager) Zeena Isaacs (media manager)
Photo 1 caption: Pictured at the Springbok Experience SA Rugby Museum for SARU’s announcement of the 26-member IRB Women’s World Cup France 2014 squad were (from left) Benele Makwezela, Denita Wentzel, Bok Women Head Coach Lawrence Sephaka, Shona-Leah Weston and skipper Mandisa Williams, on Tuesday, 17 June, 2014. SARU CEO Jurie Roux. Photo: SARU
Photo 2 caption: The Women’s World Cup squad will tour England and France during a warm-up tour from 25 June to 5 July, and will gather again in Cape Town on 14 July for their World Cup holding camp, ahead of their departure for France on 27 July for the tournament, where they will face hosts England, defending champs Australia and Wales in the tournament’s tough Pool C. Photo: SARU
(With editing by gsport)