Sevens – Springbok Women’s Sevens Keen To Continue Improvement

 

The Springbok Women's Sevens squad have no illusions about the steep hill that awaits them at Hong Kong Stadium this weekend, but for the team’s head coach Renfred Dazel, that is exactly what they want.

Dazel and his squad arrived in Hong Kong for the sixth tournament of the 2024 HSBC SVNS season in 10th place on the overall standings, still outside the top eight they are targeting by the end of the series.

“That is not where we wanted to be coming into Hong Kong, but after a sixth-place finish in Los Angeles last time out, we certainly got a boost of confidence and self-belief about our objectives for the season,” said Dazel.

“Another good performance in Hong Kong and then in Singapore (next month) will make things very interesting for the top eight, who will all automatically qualify for next season’s series.”

The South Africans have a tough opening day on Friday at the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, with Ireland – winners in Perth in January – and Fiji awaiting, followed by Australia on Saturday to test their resolve even further.

"That is tough, but we are getting better and better as we get used to the tempo and intensity of the series,” said Dazel.

“Ireland will be a tough one up first, as they have shown in Perth, they can go all the way, while Hong Kong is like paradise for Fiji, due to the similar weather conditions.

“We have prepared the team well and we also selected more forwards this time, going for a seven/six split, because I believe the humidity will take its toll on the players.

“Some of our players have played here before, so it will help as well. The hit-out we had against Spain was also great, as the players could get a real feel of the humidity they will encounter during the tournament.”

Dazel said the confidence in the squad is well placed: “We have shown improvement all along and that the hard work back home was justified.

“The players are starting to feel that they belong here and as we have shown, we can take any team down to the wire. There is always room for improvement, but we enter the tournament in good shape and mind and are keen to give it a go.”

The squad had a late setback on Wednesday when Eloise Webb fell ill, with Donelle Snyders called up as cover. She will join the squad in Hong Kong on Friday.

Snyders, who turns 24 on Monday, made her HSBC SVNS debut in Toulouse in 2022 and represented South Africa in the Rugby Africa Women's Sevens tournaments in Tunisia. She also played in two tests and two tour matches for the Springbok Women in 2021.

Springbok Women's Sevens’ pool schedule (SA times, all matches on SuperSport):

Friday 5 April
06h02: Ireland (6th on log)
09h12: Fiji (7th on log)

Saturday 6 April
05h25: Australia (1st on log)

Springbok Women's Sevens team for the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens

Forwards:
#4 Zintle Mpupha (co-captain) – 9 tournaments, 55 points
#18 Shiniqwa Lamprecht – 5 tournaments, 0 points
#20 Kyla de Vries – 3 tournaments, 0 points
#13 Kemisetso Baloyi – 5 tournaments, 0 points
#14 Simamkele Namba – 6 tournaments, 10 points
#8 Shona-Leah Weston – 6 tournaments, 5 points
#12 Liske Lategan – 7 tournaments, 15 points

Backs:
#10 Mathrin Simmers (co-captain) – 18 tournaments, 35 points
#9 Nadine Roos – 10 tournaments, 165 points
#3 Ayanda Malinga – 5 tournaments, 40 points
#11 Zandile Masuku – uncapped
#15 Alichia Arries – 3 tournaments, 0 points
#19 Donelle Snyders – 1 tournament, 0 points