The Springbok Women Sevens team were crowned champions of Africa and in doing so, booked their place to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
They’re aim was to win the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens Olympic Qualifier and secure their spot to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, and that is exactly what the Springbok Women’s Sevens team did in Tunisia on Sunday.
And for that effort by his players – they beat Kenya by 12-7 in the final after an earlier 31-0 victory over Zambia in the semi-finals – head coach Renfred Dazel said he will be forever grateful.
“I feel so happy for the players who worked so hard to achieve this – we were denied in 2016 and 2020, but this time it is official, and it’s such a great feeling,”Springbok Women’s Sevens Coach, Renfred Dazel
“We knew Kenya was going to be a tough opponent and I told the players that defence will win us this one. We did really well in the first half, but could not convert all our pressure into points, so when they took the lead in the second half, we had to fight hard.
“But once again, like in the Challenger Series final, we had the fight in us for the win and it was a great comeback.”
The Springbok Women’s Sevens team earlier in the year secured core status on the revamped HSBC SVNS after winning the Challenger Series in Stellenbosch, and Dazel said qualifying for the Olympic Games will further boost their profile.
“It is huge for our system and it is huge for women’s rugby in the country overall,” he said. “There will be more opportunities now for girls to come and play rugby, so winning this weekend was immense for the women’s game. The future looks bright.”
Rights Mkhari, one of the team’s co-captains, said the players are very proud about their achievement, especially since they had to stick together and fight back from 7-5 down to win the final.
“We had to dig deep and fight hard and that is a great feeling. We are emotional and proud right now. No one gave up, we kept pushing and playing for the teammate next to you. In the end, that was the difference and we scored when it mattered.”Springbok Women’s Seven’s Co-Captain, Rights Mkhari
Mkhari insisted that this victory will help grow the game amongst the youth: “That is one of the reasons we are so happy, this win opened the doors and now other can follow.”
One of the players who was denied in 2020, Nadine Roos, said there is relief to know they have now booked their tickets to Paris next year.
“The dream came true and what makes it even better, is the fact that our hard work over months was rewarded today. This is a huge boost for our system and to our management, they deserve a huge thank you too. We came well prepared and as in the Challenger Series, we finished top.”Springbok Women’s Seven’s Nadine Roos
Roos agreed with Mkhari that the win bodes well for growth in the women’s game in South Africa: “We want to be role models and pace setters for others to follow and this win shows us that we are on the right track. We made it hard work out there today, we are a better team than this, but credit to Kenya, who wanted it desperately as well.
“But we can now put this one behind us as another successful mission completed and start looking at the next challenge, the World Series. Exiting times indeed.”
The victory against Kenya, by 12-7, came in a very tightly contested final. The South Africans were forced to defend for large portions of the match.
Roos scored the opening try late in the first half after they fumbled a few earlier opportunities to see South Africa take a 5-0 lead at the break.
Kenya hit back from the restart though, pouncing on a mistake by South Africa as Sharon Auma’s converted try gave them a 7-5 lead.
The Kenyans held onto the ball, forcing SA to defend, which they did very well and when given an opportunity, Maria Tshiremba scored from a set piece move, with Roos adding the conversion to make it 12-7.
Final of the Rugby Africa Women’s Seven’s Championship, in Tunisia on Sunday, 15 October, 2023
South Africa 12 (5) – 7 (0) Kenya
South Africa – Tries: Nadine Roos, Maria Tshiremba. Conversion: Roos
Kenya – Try: Sharon Auma. Conversion: Grace Okulu
Main Photo Caption: The Springbok Women Sevens team have won the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens crown after beating Kenya by 12-7 in a tightly contested final in Tunisia on Sunday, 15 October, 2023. Photo: David van der Sandt / SA Rugby
Photo 2 Caption: Earlier on the day, the South Africans won their semi-final against Zambia by 31-0. Photo: BokWomen on X
Photo 3 Caption: Their win over Zambia paved the way to the final win, where the Bok women Sevens were crowned champions of Africa. Photo: BokWomen on X
Photo 4 Caption: Springbok Women’s Seven’s co-captain Rights Mkhari lifts the trophy in Tunisia. Photo: David van der Sandt / SA Rugby
Photo 5 Caption: The Bok Women’s Seven win over Kenya means that the Africa champions have simultaneously booked their place at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Photo: BokWomen on X