Trio Added to Springbok Women’s Sevens Training Group

Springbok Women’s Sevens coach, Paul Delport, added three more players to his Rugby World Cup Sevens training squad as they fine-tuned preparations for the world showpiece to be played in Cape Town from 9-11 September.

Commonwealth Games captain, Asisipho Plaatjies, fellow Birmingham tourist Unathi Mali and Challenger Series debutant, Kirsten Eastes, will all join the squad in Stellenbosch today after receiving medical clearance to do so.

Plaatjies picked up a hand injury in Birmingham and missed the Challenger Series tournament in Chile, while a shoulder scan cleared Mali to join the squad. Eastes had a hip niggle which was cleared.

“We are training against China on Tuesday and will have another training match two days later, so it was great to call on those three once they were cleared,” said Delport.

“We have used the time since last Wednesday mainly to integrate the six players that came from fifteens, so the trio did not miss much from a game time perspective. Asi has been with us at all the camps during the year and Unathi and Kirsten played for us two weeks ago, so will be ready to slot in immediately. The 16 players will also give me a little bit leeway in planning the next week,” he explained.

“As important, it does bring a new edge to the intensity, as I told the players no one is guaranteed a spot with only 12 of the 16 to be included. Attitude in training this week will determine the group of names that will be read out when we announce the squad on Friday.”

Delport also indicated that he will name his tournament captain on Friday.

Plaatjies, a University of Fort Hare student, made her HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series debut for the Springbok Women’s Sevens in the final tournament of the 2022 series, the HSBC France Sevens in Toulouse, while Mali returned for the first time since 2018, when she last played for her country.

Eastes, from the Delta Drone Tuks Sevens club, was drafted into the squad to travel to Chile and played herself into contention for the Cape Town showpiece.

With editing by gsport

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