Sephaka new Springbok Woman’s coach



Former Springbok prop Lawrence Sephaka has been appointed the new Springbok Women’s head coach, with Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel confirmed as assistant coach as the team prepares for the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in France in August.

Former Springbok Women’s captain Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe-Calata is the new Team Manager. The South African Rugby Union (SARU) announced these appointments on Monday, after they were approved by the Executive Committee.

Sephaka and his management team will work closely with Jacques Nienaber from the SARU Mobi-Unit, who will oversee the overall implementation of the SARU coaching blue print.


“It is a major coup for us to have a former Springbok guide the national women’s team,” said SARU CEO Jurie Roux. “Lawrence is an up-and-coming coach and has worked with our elite women in the last few months, so he is familiar with the set-up and the expectations on the team.

“His experience as a former Springbok and his familiarity with the demands and the pressure associated with representing one’s country will certainly add to his coaching input as he prepares the squad for the World Cup.”

Sephaka, who played 24 Tests between 2001 and 2006, was named as a consultant to the Springbok Women’s team before their first training camp in Cape Town last month, while Tsotsobe-Calata and Dazel also assisted at the camp in their respective roles.

The former Springbok will work closely with the Gauteng-based players, in particular, in the months leading up to their next training camp in June and their pre-World Cup European tour, as he is one of five coaches who will run satellite coaching stations across the country with the women.

The objective of these coaching stations is to ensure that the players improve their skills in all areas of the game as well as role-specific preparation to excel in their respective positions.

Roux also welcomed the appointment of Dazel and Tsotsobe-Calata: “Renfred has been working closely with the Elite Sevens squad based in Port Elizabeth, and since those players will be eligible for selection for the 15-a-side Rugby World Cup, it makes sense to ensure continuity in the coaching team. He has also played the sport at the highest level as a former Springbok Sevens player and provincial 15-a-side player, so similarly, to Lawrence he understands the demands on a national team.

“It also gives SARU great satisfaction to appoint Nomsebenzi the team manager. She was the first captain of the Springbok Women’s team in 2004 and, as she played alongside some of the women, she knows what the players need to deliver their best performance on the field. I believe this trio is the ideal management team.”

The Springbok Women’s preliminary World Cup squad have been hard at work since early January to improve their fitness and skills levels, and will continue to work with the SARU Mobi-Unit and satellite coaches in the next few months to prepare for the international showpiece.

The squad will assemble in Pretoria on June 18 for a seven-day training camp, which will be followed by a tour to London and France from June 25 to July 5 for warm-up matches against the Nomads and World Cup pool competitors, France, respectively.

The squad will gather again in Stellenbosch for a pre-World Cup holding camp from July 14 to 27, with the squad set to depart for Paris on July 27 for the international spectacle.

Springbok Women management team:

Head coach: Lawrence Sephaka

Assistant coach: Renfred Dazel

Team manager: Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe-Calata

Team doctor: Jerome Mampane

Physiotherapist: Tanushree Pillay

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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"


  1. @Morné:

    Cheers hope he ups his skills on top of his years of Bok knowledge… the ZAF women are so so far behind the Aussies/Kiwi’s and English it’s a bit of a joke…

    Verrel, Banetti, Gary Street have all coached at club level and across the gamete of women’s rep teams…

    Good Dazel is there though… there has definitely been an improvement in the 7’s side…

    But anyways… it’s only women’s rugby… and I cannot get too excited…

  2. @bryce_in_oz:

    Lorrie is a very good prospect as coach and although he might not have coached at club or union level full time yet, he seems to get the best out of the girls. Of course simple things like being able to communicate in Xhosa is a massive plus and something we don’t always think as important at this level but it is massively important.

    He brings a professionalism that lacked in women’s rugby where he demands a huge work ethic.

    We are behind the big nations, probably by about 3 or so years, but with the mobi unit actively involved, some girls being contracted full time now, we will catch up fast.

    Pieter de Villiers is in Pretoria tomorrow with Lorrie to work with the girls up North, Nienaber and the rest almost every Saturday morning in CPT, Chean and Louis is up in PE and East Londen in the next 2 weeks to work with the girls there. Mobi unit with Lorrie will visit each region at least twice a month from now until the RWC to get them conditioned and in shape.

    One of the biggest challenges is that the women have no tournaments or competitions from now until May when the IPL (women’s version of the Currie Cup) start.

    But I suspect we will surprise a couple of teams in the RWC in August this year and I will almost put money on the fact that the girls will get to the play-off’s – which will be a first and massive leap forward.

  3. @Morné:

    Interesting stuff…

    On the coaching note… Michael O’ Connor has shocked all by resigning from his 7’s Aus coaching role ahead of their historic move to a full-time base in Sydney leading to a global search for a replacement?

    Paul Treu perhaps (despite where he is now) for an Olympic birth…

  4. As for the women… the 15-siders… Nienaber is much needed in getting their conditioning even near to the top teams… best person for the job…

  5. @bryce_in_oz:

    I think Paul is contracted with Kenya up to the Olympics, but nothing surprises me anymore to be honest. He works with amateurs in Kenya who all have full time jobs and I am sure this will be very tempting for him.

    On the girls; conditioning was and still is our biggest hurdle. The women simply don’t play enough and although some of them are talented athletes, they are simply not conditioned for contact and break down all the time. So the focus now for the next 3 months is rugby specific conditioning.

    Nienaber with the rest of the Bok coaches are in charge of that, which is why I am positive we will start seeing good results.