South African Rugby Union (SARU) High Performance GM Rassie Erasmus on Sunday was satisfied with the skills levels and quality of players available ahead of the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in France later this year following the conclusion of the opening Springbok Women’s training camp in Cape Town.
The Rugby World Cup will be hosted in Paris from August 1 to 17, with the team set to line up against hosts France, Wales and Australia in the pool stages.
A 40-member squad was invited to the four-day training camp from Thursday to Sunday, during which the players underwent a series of fitness and medical tests, and had two field training sessions which were managed by the SARU Mobi-Unit and consultant Lawrence Sephaka.
Former Springbok flyhalf Louis Koen, former French International prop Pieter de Villiers, defence coach Jacques Nienaber, performance analyst Chean Roux and Erasmus all attended the camp and assisted the ladies with skills training and monitoring.
The squad will be trimmed in the next few weeks and satellite training camps set up in Port Elizabeth, Gauteng, the Western Cape, East London and KwaZulu-Natal to ensure that the Women follow their training programmes and continue developing their skills in the build-up to the World Cup.
The seven-a-side Women’s squad based in Port Elizabeth will also be in contention for places in the final 26-member Rugby World Cup squad once they complete their tournaments in May.
“I am pleased with the skills levels and the quality of the players who put up their hands at the training camp in the last few days,” Erasmus said. “Having witnessed the hard work they put in and how well they worked with the SARU Mobi-Unit, I am excited ahead of the World Cup. That said, however, there is a long way to go to get the structures in place and to ensure that the team is ready to compete against top international opposition.”
Erasmus added: “The main purpose of this camp was to measure the fitness and skills levels of the players, and we achieved that, but the onus is now on them to work hard between the training camps to reach the goals we have set for each individual. This will be vital for them to be in contention for a place in the World Cup squad.”