Injury blows for Bok Women
THE South African women’s team went through their paces in Cape Town yesterday as preparations for the World Cup gathered pace with the tournament only nine days away.
South Africa will meet Australia in Pool C on August 1. It’s a pool that contains pre-tournament favourites France, who beat SA 46-8 in the town of Marcoussis, which also hosts the event, outside Paris last month.
Fulfilling their aim of advancing to the knockout stages for the first time has become more difficult after three players were ruled out of the tournament on Monday.
Injuries have ended the hopes of lock Nomathamsanqa Faleni and centres Marithy Pienaar and Ziyanda Tywaleni from participating at the seventh staging of the Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC).
Faleni suffered a knee injury at training last week, while Pienaar’s knee and Tywaleni’s hamstring injuries flared up following their recent return to training following injury-layoffs.
They have all returned home to recover and have been replaced by utility forward Andrea Mentoor, flyhalf Zandile Nojoko and utility back Sinazo Nobele respectively.
Mentoor and Nojoko were members of the Springbok Women’s squad that travelled to London and France for the team’s World Cup warm-up tour. The experience gained was invaluable as SA heads into its third participation at the global showpiece.
Coach Lawrence Sephaka, who played 24 times for the Springboks, admitted that the injuries were a big blow to the team.
“It is always sad to lose players to injury, especially so close to the World Cup,” said Sephaka.
“Each one of them are top players in their respective positions, while Thami (Faleni) and Ziyanda also boast vast experience as members of the 2010 World Cup squad.
“But we have fine replacements in Andrea, Zandile and Sinazo. Zandile, in particular, is one of a select few who have been in the system since our first Rugby World Cup campaign in 2006, so she knows what to expect in France.
“This may be Andrea and Sinazo’s first World Cup, but they are quality players and good decision-makers, so we have full faith that they will make their presence felt in the competition.”
Sephaka was optimistic about his teams chances of reaching their goal of making the last eight for the first time.
“It’s a pretty competitive pool that we’re in; it’s going to be up to the team to stand up and be counted and show up on the days that they need to show up on in order for us to move forward,” Sephaka said.
Springbok Women’s Rugby World Cup squad:
Mandisa Williams – Captain (Border)
Celeste Adonis (Western Province)
Siviwe Basweni (Border)
Nolusindiso Booi (Border)
Lorinda Brown (Eastern Province)
Cindy Cant (Blue Bulls)
Phumeza Gadu (Eastern Province)
Rachelle Geldenhuys (Falcons)
Veroeshka Grain (Western Province)
Portia Jonga (Eastern Province)
Zenay Jordaan (Border)
Tayla Kinsey (KwaZulu-Natal)
Cebisa Kula (Eastern Province)
Thantaswa Macingwana (Border)
Benele Makwezela (Western Province)
Andrea Mentoor (Western Province)
Lamla Momoti (Border)
Nwabisa Ngxatu (Border)
Sinzao Nobele (Border)
Zandile Nojoko (Eastern Province)
Asithandile Ntoyanto (Border)
Fundiswa Plaatjie (Border)
Siphosethu Tshingana (Eastern Province)
Vuyolwethu Vazi (Blue Bulls)
Denita Wentzel (Western Province)
Shona-Leah Weston (Blue Bulls)