Seven Uncapped Players Named for Springbok’s 3-Week Tour of the UK

Head Coach Louis Koen has announced a Springbok Women squad of 32 featuring a balance of young talent and experience for extended European Tour featuring fixtures against Scotland, Wales, Spain and the USA. Photo: SA Rugby

Seven uncapped players have been included in the Springbok Women squad of 32 players for a three-week tour of the United Kingdom and Spain later this month, which was announced by head coach Louis Koen on Monday, 4 March, 2024

Three of the uncapped players, props Xoliswa Khuzwayo and Aliyah Tchogna-Njamen, as well as lock Samantha Els, played in the green and gold in last season’s pre-WXV 2 warm-up match against the San Clemente Rhinos, but will now push for a first Test cap.

Scrumhalf Alicia Willemse and locks Olwethu Kasibe and Anathi Qolo will celebrate a first call up, while wing Sikholiwe Mdletshe was named in the Springbok Women’s Sevens squad to play in the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens Cup last year, only to withdraw with a hamstring injury a week before departure.

Only 28 players will fly out to London on Thursday night though, as four regular starters in the Bok pack – Babalwa Latsha, Lindelwa Gwala, Danelle Lochner and Aseza Hele – will join their teammates in the UK, where they are plying their trade in the Premiership Women’s Rugby competition.

Nolusindiso Booi will captain the side, with Latsha and Tayla Kinsey the vice-captains.

Koen congratulated the new players, saying that broaden their player base are an important aspect identified in last season’s review.

“Xoliswa, Aliyah and Samantha have been part of our training squads last year and attended all the alignment camps since, so they have a good idea of what we want to achieve on this tour. Their hard work has also been rewarded,” said Koen.

“Alica, Anathi and Olwethu impressed our coaching staff with their efforts during the alignment camps, while the unfortunate injury Sne (Mdletshe) suffered while training with our sevens squad, opened up the opportunity for us to select her for this tour.

“We could not include some injured players like Libbie Janse van Rensburg, Chumisa Qawe, Catha Jacobs, Nomawethu Mabenge and Sizophila Solontsi, but they are still part of our plans for the year ahead.”

The team will have training sessions against Scotland (Edinburgh, 11 March) and Wales (Swansea, 16 March) before Test matches against Spain (Valladolid, 23 March) and the USA (London, 30 March).

Koen said the tour provides invaluable preparation against high quality opposition as the Springbok Women gear up for the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup in Madagascar in May, their pathway to the Rugby World Cup in England in 2025 and the recently-announced WXV 2, which will again be hosted in South Africa.

“We are so thankful for this opportunity provided to us by SA Rugby and World Rugby,” said Koen. “Scotland and Wales are gearing up to play in the Guinness Six Nations and the USA will play in the Pacific Four tournament, while Spain will host us for a second year for a test match.

“All these teams are ranked above us, so it is fantastic to get the opportunity to play against them. We have our own ambitions going forward and these training sessions and Tests will help us get there.”

The Springbok Women Tour Squad

Forwards (19)
Sanelisiwe Charlie (Bulls Daisies) – 14 Tests, 5 points (1 try)
Xoliswa Khuzwayo (Mastercard Golden Lions Women) – uncapped
Babalwa Latsha (Harlequins Women) – 27 Tests, 25 points (5 tries)
Asiza Mkiva (DHL Western Province) – 6 Tests, 0 points
Aliyah Tchogna-Njamen (Mastercard Golden Lions Women) – uncapped
Lindelwa Gwala (Ealing Trailfinders Women) – 27 Tests, 25 points (5 tries)
Roseline Botes (DHL Western Province) – 15 Tests, 40 points (8 tries)
Micke Gunter (Bulls Daisies) – 8 Tests, 0 points
Nolusindiso Booi (captain, DHL Western Province) – 40 Tests, 5 points (1 try)
Vainah Ubisi (Bulls Daisies) – 9 Tests, 0 points
Samantha Els (unattached) – uncapped
Danelle Lochner (Harlequins Women) – 10 Tests, 10 points (2 tries)
Nomsa Mokwai (DHL Western Province) – 4 Tests, 0 points
Olwethu Kasibe (EP Queens) – uncapped
Sinelitha Noxeke (Bulls Daisies) – 1 Test, 0 points
Sinazo Mcatshulwa (DHL Western Province) – 27 Tests, 45 points (9 tries)
Anathi Qolo (Bulls Daisies) – uncapped
Aseza Hele (Harlequins Women) – 20 Tests, 35 points (7 tries)
Nompumelelo Mathe (Sanlam Boland Dames) – 17 Tests, 25 points (5 tries)
Backs (13)
Rumandi Potgieter (Bulls Daisies) – 13 Tests, 0 points
Tayla Kinsey (Hollywoodbets Sharks Women) – 30 Tests, 48 points (2 tries, 16 conversions, 2 penalty goals)
Alicia Willemse (DHL Western Province) – uncapped
Mary Zulu (Hollywoodbets Sharks Women) – 6 Tests, 2 points (1 conversion)
Byrhandrè Dolf (Bulls Daisies) – 9 Tests, 10 points (2 tries)
Piwokuhle Nyanda (Mastercard Golden Lions Women) – 8 Tests, 0 points
Aphiwe Ngwevu (Border Ladies) – 16 Tests, 35 points (7 tries)
Veroeskha Grain (Sanlam Boland Dames) – 17 Tests, 35 points (7 tries)
Jakkie Cilliers (Bulls Daisies) – 9 Tests, 26 points (2 tries, 5 conversions, 2 penalty goals)
Asiphe Mayaba (DHL Western Province) – 2 Tests, 25 points (5 tries)
Sikholiwe Mdletshe (Free State Women) – uncapped
Macaela Samboya, (Sanlam Boland Dames) – 2 Tests, 5 points (1 try)
Chuma Qawe (Sanlam Boland Dames) – 7 Tests, 0 points

Management

Louis Koen (Head Coach)
Laurian Johannes-Haupt (Assistant Coach)
Franzel September (Assistant Coach)
Lynne Cantwell (High Performance Manager)
Thandiswa Nxomani (Team Manager)
Dr. Moshe Magethi (Team Doctor)
Lezane Ward (Physiotherapist)
Neda Isaacs (Physiotherapist)
Naasier Parker (Strength and Conditioning Coach)
Zwonaka Mbedzi (Analyst)
J.J. Harmse (Media Manager)


Original Copy: SA Rugby Communications, with editing by gsport

Photo Caption: Head Coach Louis Koen has announced a Springbok Women squad of 32 featuring a balance of young talent and experience for extended European Tour featuring fixtures against Scotland, Wales, Spain and the USA. Photo:  SA Rugby

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