Springbok Women’s coach Lawrence Sephaka on Friday named six new players in his squad to face the Nomads at the Lensbury Club in Teddington on Saturday at 14h00 in the opening game of their Rugby World Cup warm-up tour to England and France.
Both teams have selected 25 players to participate in the match, as it is not a Test match.
In the starting lineup fullback Cindy Cant, centre Benele Makwezela and No8 Shona-Leah Weston will represent the national 15-a-side team for the first time, as well as replacement flank Rachelle Geldenhuys, fullback Siviwe Basweni and wing Nosiphiwo Goda.
Geldenhuys, Goda and Makwezela, however, have represented the Springbok Women’s Sevens team, meaning they have international experience.
Experienced flank Lamla Momoti, who was a member of the Springbok Women’s squad in the 2006 and 2010 Rugby World Cups, will lead the team in the absence of regular captain Mandisa Williams, who is recovering from a bout of flu.
Experienced centre Lorinda Brown has been named the vice-captain.
“We have selected a talented team that features youth and experience and which also contains several play-makers,” said Sephaka. “Since the two matches against the Nomads will play an important role in our preparation for the Test against France on July 4 and for the Rugby World Cup in August, so we plan to give all the players fair game time in the next two matches.
“This match, in particular, will set the tone for the rest of the tour, so it is fantastic to have a bunch of experienced players to guide the youngsters. This will be important against the Nomads as they are a quality team featuring several experienced players from London, Sweden, Ireland, Wales and New Zealand as well as a group of fringe players who want to prove that they deserve to represent their countries, so we expect a big effort from this team.”
Although Sephaka admitted that Williams’ absence would be a blow to the team, he had faith in Momoti and Brown to lead the side.
“It is always sad to lose your captain, but similarly to Mandisa, Lamla has been to two World Cups and her team-mates respect her,” said the coach. “Her decision-making is also one of her key strengths, so we believe that she will fill Mandisa’s big boots with distinction. She will also have an experienced player in Brown to assist with the decisions during the match, which is a bonus.”
Looking ahead at the clash, Sephaka hoped that his strong pack combined with an exciting backline would be able to stamp their authority against the Nomads.
“We would like to see progressive improvement from the team in all facets of the game,” said Sephaka. “I have been impressed with the cohesion of the pack and I am looking forward to seeing the combinations in the backline in action. So we hope to get onto the front foot early on.”
The Springbok Women’s XV will face the Nomads again on Tuesday at the Wasps Football Club.
Springbok Women’s XV to face the Nomads on Saturday, June 28:
15 – Cindy Cant
14 – Veroeshka Grain
13 – Benele Makwezela
12 – Lorinda Brown
11 – Phumeza Gadu
10 – Zenay Jordaan
9 – Tayla Kinsey
8 – Shona-Leah Weston
7 – Vuyolwethu Vazi
6 – Lamla Momoti (capt)
5 – Nolusindiso Booi
4 – Celeste Adonis
3 – Portia Jonga
2 – Denita Wentzel
1 – Asithandile Ntoyanto
16 – Thantaswa Macingwana
17 – Cebisa Kula
18 – Nwabisa Ngxatu
19 – Nomathamsanqa Faleni
20 – Rachelle Geldenhuys
21 – Fundiswa Plaatjie
22 – Siviwe Basweni
23 – Nosiphiwo Goda
24 – Andrea Mentoor
25 – Zandile Nojoko