Imbokodo Set Sights On Next Season

Photo By Jorina Raath/Speedshots.co.za

The cancellation of the inaugural Challenger Series event for women is a setback to their aspirations, but the Springbok Women's Sevens team will not give up on their drive to become a core team on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

That was the reaction from Imbokodo coach Paul Delport in response to the news that the Stellenbosch event, that was originally scheduled for 28-29 March at the Danie Craven Stadium but then postponed, has now been officially cancelled as World Rugby adjusted their tournament schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Challenger Series was launched by World Rugby earlier this year to boost rugby sevens’ development across the globe, particularly in emerging nations, and this objective remains a key priority, providing a promotion pathway into the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

There will be no promotion or relegation in the women’s series this year due to the cancellation of the inaugural Challenger Series event in Stellenbosch. This leaves the Imbokodo outside the 11 core teams and dependent on invites to play in World Series events.

The Springbok Women's Sevens team won Rugby Africa's Sevens title last year and played in the HSBC Cape Town Sevens in December when 12 women's teams participated for the first time. South Africa finished 10th in Cape Town.

“We are all fully respectful and supportive of World Rugby's decision,” said Delport. It does mean that we will only be able to contest for a core spot next season, which is not what we had planned for, but other teams such as China, Japan and Kenya are in the same position. We need to make the best of the extended time created by this and we are keen to do so.”