The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has named the SA Women’s Sevens squad for the first round of the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, which takes place next weekend in Dubai.
South Africa are one of 12 international sides from six continents that will compete in the historic opening round of the Women’s Series on 30 November and 1 December as part of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens.
The team will again be led by the experienced loose forward Mandisa Williams from Border. Two newcomers will make their international debuts in Dubai, namely wing Bella Benele Makwezela and loose forward Zimkitha Tsilana, who both hail from Western Province.
Veteran utility back Yolanda Meiring (Blue Bulls), the recipient of the 2012 SARU Women’s Achiever of the Year Award, skipper Williams and wing Phumeza Gadu provide the necessary experience in a youthful looking squad, which benefited from a recent trip to China.
“The warm-up tournament in Guangzhou was a very good exercise and, in particular, the newcomers now have a much better understanding of what is required to play at this level," said coach, Denver Wannies.
“Our biggest concern at the moment is the lack of game time since the 2009 World Cup in Dubai, where we reached the semi-finals. However, our players usually adapt well to the dry climate of Dubai so we will be looking to our previous results there to provide extra motivation against some very tough opposition.
“We have a nice balance of youth and experience in the squad and I am confident that the players will give a good account of themselves. England are the clear tournament favourites, Spain have a promising squad while Brazil will be looking to lay a good foundation for the 2016 Olympic Games," added Wannies of the sides SA face in their pool.
"Our aim is to qualify for the knockout phase, but to do that we will have to be very competitive on day one.”
Team departs for Dubai on Monday at 7.15pm from the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
SA Sevens Women’s squad for Dubai: Yolanda Meiring (Blue Bulls), Mandisa Williams (Border, captain), Nwabisa Ngxatu (Border), Ziyanda Tywaleni (Border), Nosiphiwo Goda (Border), Fundiswa Plaatjie (Border), Zenay Jordaan (Eastern Province), Phumeza Gadu (Eastern Province), Natasha Hofmeester (Western Province), Bella Benele Makwezela (Western Province), Zimkitha Tsilana (Western Province), Mathrin Simmers (SWD)
IRB Women’s Sevens World Series
Round 1 – UAE: Dubai, November 30 – December 1, 2012 – 7he Sevens Stadium
Round 2 – USA: Houston, Texas, 1-2 February, 2013 - BBVA Compass Stadium
Round 3 – China: Guangzhou, 30-31 March 2013 - Guangzhou University Town Stadium
Round 4 – Netherlands: Amsterdam, 17-18 May 2013 - NRCA Stadium