Springbok Women Arrive in Spain Ahead of Test Match at Valladolid on Saturday

The Springbok Women’s Nolusindiso Booi Babalwa (left) and Babalwa Latsha with former Bok and current-day Springbok Women Assistance Coach, Laurian Johannes Haupt (centre), ahead of the senior women’s rugby fifteens team’s Test against Spain. Photo: SA Rugby

The Springbok Women arrived in Spain on Sunday empowered by good learnings from their training sessions with Scotland and Wales and with their first Test match of 2024 less than a week away, the team have a good idea on where they are in their season preparations.

According to Springbok Women assistant coach Laurian Johannes-Haupt, the next two weeks of the tour, which includes a test against Spain in Valladolid on Saturday, 23 March and they USA in London on 30 March, will be another important step in the team’s preparations to qualify for the Rugby World Cup in England next year.

That opportunity comes in early May when the Bok Women will travel to Madagascar for Rugby Africa’s Women’s Cup tournament, with the winner in Antananarivo qualifying for next year’s showpiece.

“The focus in Spain will be test match driven – the first 10 days of our tour were more about process and physicality, but that part is done now,” said Johannes-Haupt.

“We are entering the Test phase of the tour and that will be all that matters. We will apply the learnings from the first half of the tour though.

Springbok Women assistant coach Laurian Johannes-Haupt

“Like we saw against Scotland on Tuesday, the value of our session against Wales on Saturday was the exposure our players got to a top tier team. Wales played amongst the top six teams last year in WXV 1 and we could certainly see why.

“We have a handful of uncapped players on this trip and for them to experience the pace and style of play from a top contender will benefit them for a long time to come.

“We are here to learn and to expose our players to higher ranked competition and that certainly was something we can embrace as a coaching staff. Our own systems were tested and we could implement our plans as well to see how it worked against their systems.”

The session took place at the Welsh Rugby Union’s High-Performance Centre at the scenic Vale Resort near Cardiff, but cold and rainy conditions made sure the focus remained on rugby and not sight-seeing.

“The testing conditions aside, we left Vale with a lot of positives, and we can now fine tune those aspects for the matches against Spain and USA,” said Johannes-Haupt.

Unfortunately for the team, they will have to do without utility forward Micke Gunter, who injured knee ligaments against Wales. Gunter flew back to South Africa on Sunday and will also not be fit for the Madagascar trip.

“It was unfortunate to lose Micke,” said Johannes-Haupt. “Her versatility is an asset to the team. She gives us options as she can contribute to more than one position, but injuries happen in rugby. We will just have to shoulder on regardless. We do wish her a speedy return and recovery.”

Springbok Women Training Squad

Olwethu Kasibe (EP Queens)
Hlomla Puzi (EP Queens)
Amahle Nyoba (EP Queens)
Mary Zulu (Hollywoodbets Sharks Women)
Tayla Kinsey (Hollywoodbets Sharks Women)
Sikholiwe Mdletshe (Free State Women)
Aphiwe Ngwevu (Border Ladies)
Macaela Samboya (Sanlam Boland Dames)
Veroeskha Grain (Sanlam Boland Dames)
Chuma Qawe (Sanlam Boland Dames)
Nompumelelo Mathe (Sanlam Boland Dames)
Nokubonga Siko (Sanlam Boland Dames)
Rumandi Potgieter (Bulls Daisies)
Jakkie Cilliers (Bulls Daisies)
Sanelisiwe Charlie (Bulls Daisies)
Micke Gunter (Bulls Daisies) (Withdrawn for Injury)
Vainah Ubisi (Bulls Daisies)
Sinelitha Noxeke (Bulls Daisies)
Anathi Qolo (Bulls Daisies)
Nkhumishe Malatse (Bulls Daisies)
Byrhandrѐ Dolf (Bulls Daisies)
Roseline Botes (DHL Western Province)
Asiphe Mayaba (DHL Western Province)
Asiza Mkiva (DHL Western Province)
Nolusindiso Booi (DHL Western Province)
Sinazo Mcatshulwa (DHL Western Province)
Nomsa Mokwai (DHL Western Province)
Alicia Willemse (DHL Western Province)
Xoliswa Khuzwayo (Mastercard Golden Lions Women)
Aliyah Tchogna-Njamen (Mastercard Golden Lions Women)
Piwokuhle Nyanda (Mastercard Golden Lions Women)
Samantha Els (Unaffiliated)

England-Based Professionals
Danelle Lochner (Harlequins Women)
Babalwa Latsha (Harlequins Women)
Aseza Hele (Harlequins Women)
Lindelwa Gwala (Ealing Trailfinders)

Original Copy: SA Rugby Communications, with editing by gsport

Main Photo Caption: The Springbok Women’s Nolusindiso Booi Babalwa (left) and Babalwa Latsha with former Bok and current-day Springbok Women Assistance Coach, Laurian Johannes Haupt (centre), ahead of the senior women’s rugby fifteens team’s Test against Spain. Photo: SA Rugby 

Photo 2 Caption: Micke Gunter has returned to South Africa for medical treatment following ligament injuries sustained in the Springbok Women’s training schedule against Scotland and Wales, ahead of the Spain and USA Tests. Photo: SA Rugby

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