Springbok Women Gear Up for Inaugural WXV 2 Tournament with Experienced Squad

Springbok Women's team captain Babalwa Latsha and interim head coach Louis Koen at the squad announcement for the upcoming WXV 2 tournament. Photo: Supplied

Interim head coach Louis Koen announced the Springbok Women’s squad for the upcoming WXV 2 tournament on Friday. The squad features 19 players with Rugby World Cup experience and is set to compete in the inaugural World Rugby showpiece event in the Western Cape starting this October.

South Africa is slated to face Scotland, Italy, and Samoa in this intercontinental festival of women’s rugby. The tournament will also include national teams from Japan and the United States of America.

Koen has selected a squad rich in international experience. Maceala Samboya, an outside back, is the only player in the squad who has yet to earn a Test cap for South Africa. 

Injuries Take their Toll

However, the team will be without some regular players due to injuries sustained in the lead-up to the tournament. Lerato Makua and Sinelitha Noxeke were ruled out after undergoing scans, following their participation in a warm-up schedule that included a Test against Kenya and friendlies against the Mastercard Golden Lions Women, San Clemente Rhinos, and the Barbarians.

Several other players, including Chumisa Qawe, Nomawethu Mabenge, Asiphe Mayaba, Aphiwe Ngwevu, Azisa Mkiva, and Sizophila Solontsi, who were part of the national set-up this season, have also been ruled out for the remainder of the year due to injuries sustained in the domestic Women’s Premier Division.

Babalwa Latsha will captain the team, with Nolusindiso Booi and Libbie Janse van Rensburg serving as vice-captains.

The Long Road to Hitting Home

“The reality of the WXV tournament is hitting home,” said Koen.

“We have planned and prepared since we qualified to play in this tournament in Madagascar earlier this year.”

Springbok Women Interim Head Coach Louis Koen

“We have lost some players along the way, but that again presented opportunities to others, such as Maceala Samboya, who showed her ability in the matches against the Rhinos and Barbarians last week. We are now two weeks away from the first match against Scotland and it will be a big challenge.”

The Springbok Women will have a final warm-up Test against Samoa in Hermanus next Saturday. The squad will assemble in Cape Town on Sunday to begin their final preparations.

“This is such a huge platform for us,” Koen added. “We will be playing four Test matches on consecutive weekends at home against teams that have all the experience in the world and will test us to our fullest. This Springbok Women squad will be playing for recognition and respect, but also to inspire young girls to start playing the game South Africans hold so dear. The WXV is knocking, and we will open the door aware of what this can do to the profile of our game. We are determined not to waste this opportunity.”

The WXV 2 tournament will kick off with three matches at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch before moving to Athlone Stadium in Cape Town for the final six test matches of the event.

The Springbok Women’s team is gearing up for a challenging but promising tournament, with the aim of not only competing at the highest level but also inspiring the next generation of female rugby players in South Africa.

Backs (13):  

Byrhandrè Dolf (Bulls Daisies) – 6 caps, 5 points (1 try) 
Mary Zulu (Sharks Women) – 4 caps, 2 points (1 conversion) 
Chuma Qawe (DHL Western Province) – 4 caps, 0 points 
Veroeshka Grain (DHL Western Province) – 13 caps, 30 points (6 tries) 
Unathi Mali (Bulls Daisies) – 1 cap, 5 points (1 try) 
Maceala Samboya (Boland Dames) – uncapped 
Jakkie Cilliers (Bulls Daisies) – 9 caps, 26 points (2 tries, 5 conversions, 2 penalty goals) 
Piwokuhle Nyanda (Mastercard Golden Lions Women) – 4 caps, 0 points 
Shaunique Hess (DHL Western Province) – 2 caps, 10 points (2 tries) 
Libbie Janse van Rensburg (vice-captain, Bulls Daisies) – 16 caps, 159 points (7 tries, 47 conversions, 9 penalty goals, 1 drop goal) 
Rumandi Potgieter (Bulls Daisies) – 8 caps, 0 points 
Unam Tose (Bulls Daisies) – 17 caps, 0 points 
Tayla Kinsey (Sharks Women) – 28 caps, 48 points (2 tries, 16 conversions, 2 penalty goals) 

Forwards (17):  

Aseza Hele (Harlequins Women) – 18 caps, 30 points (6 tries) 
Lusanda Dumke (Bulls Daisies) – 24 caps, 30 points (6 tries) 
Catha Jacobs (Leicester Tigers Women) – 11 caps, 0 points 
Nompumelelo Mathe (Sharks Women) – 15 caps, 25 points (5 tries) 
Danelle Lochner (DHL Western Province) – 6 caps, 10 points (2 tries) 
Vainah Ubisi (Bulls Daisies) – 5 caps, 0 points 
Sinazo Mcatshulwa (DHL Western Province) – 23 caps, 45 points (9 tries) 
Nolusindiso Booi (vice-captain, DHL Western Province) – 36 caps, 10 points (2 tries) 
Babalwa Latsha (captain, Harlequins Women) – 23 caps, 15 points (3 tries) 
Amber Schonert (Sale Sharks Women) – 3 caps, 0 points 
Yonela Ngxingolo (Bulls Daisies) – 24 caps, 10 points (2 tries) 
Asithandile Ntoyanto (Bulls Daisies) – 18 caps, 15 points (3 tries) 
Sanelisiwe Charlie (EP Queens) – 10 caps, 5 points (1 try) 
Roseline Botes (DHL Western Province) – 12 caps, 40 points (8 tries) 
Micke Gunter (Bulls Daisies) – 5 caps, 0 points 
Lucell Hanekom (DHL Western Province) – 1 cap, 0 points 
Lindelwa Gwala (Ealing Trailfinders Women) – 25 caps, 25 points (5 tries) 

Photo Caption: Springbok Women’s team captain Babalwa Latsha and interim head coach Louis Koen at the squad announcement for the upcoming WXV 2 tournament. Photo: Supplied

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