Selection For The Junior Springbok Women The Aim This Weekend

 

Selection for the Junior Springbok Women will be one of the many rewards on offer to the country's leading u/20 players in Cape Town this weekend when the SA Rugby Youth Training Centres tournament takes place at City Park.

All eight provincial YTCs will be represented, while two invitational teams will complete the line-up to 10 teams, with kick-off at 08h45 on Saturday, when Limpopo and Valke Invitational kick-start the tournament.

The second round of fixtures will be played Sunday.

For Junior Springbok Women coach Laurian Johannes-Haupt, the weekend will be of particular significance as their match against Zimbabwe is only two weeks away.

"I am very excited to see the talent pool at this year's tournament, she said.

“We had a very good look at the depth of talent at the national Under-18 week in Welkom early last month and had the opportunity to work with those players at a camp held shortly thereafter.

“This weekend will complete that process for us. We will identify at least 16 players to be drafted into our national squad that will be involved for our match against Zimbabwe Under-20 on 19 August in Potchefstroom.

"We have lost out on the normal developmental pathway during the pandemic, so this is an important gauge for us to see where we are at, not only with regards to the talent, but the skill levels of those players as well.

“So, there is a lot at stake for the players, but we will not be looking at individual performances only. It is important for players to be able to play in a team, follow the structures and play according to a game plan. Individual skills are great, but we are also looking at the ability to play within the team environment,” added Johannes-Haupt.

SA Rugby's High-Performance Manager for Women's Rugby, Lynne Cantwell, said it is an exciting time for women's rugby as the resumption of the tournament - last held in 2019 - will add much-needed momentum to SA Rugby's stated desire to grow and develop the women's game.

"It was important for us to get the YTC programme back on track and this tournament will also be a good measure of where the respective YTC's are in terms of bringing players into the game and developing their skills and talent,” said Cantwell.

“The fact that some of these players will be rewarded with a national call-up is an added bonus while it sends out an important message as well - there are pathways to get recognised for your talent if you are willing to put in the time and effort.”

The various coaches and administrators of the YTC’s will also benefit, with a number of provincial coaches attending and hosting workshops as part of the Betway Next-Phase programme, an initiative that sees Betway and SA Rugby embarking on a nationwide endeavour to help develop, upskill and empower coaches in women’s rugby.

The fixtures for Saturday are:

08h45: Limpopo vs Valke Invitational
10h00: KZN vs Western Province Invitational
11h15: Griquas vs Blue Bulls
12h30: Western Province vs Border
13h45: Eastern Province vs SWD