Cape Town - The Springbok Women’s Sevens team have a plan and the willpower to try and beat Russia when the two teams open their Rugby World Cup Women's Sevens campaigns at AT&T Park, San Francisco on Friday.
Springbok Women’s Sevens captain Zintle Mpupha said they are well prepared for this clash and are keen to get started, despite the odds stacked against them against one of the tournament favourites.
“Russia is one of the strong teams in the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series and they have played really well in the series,” said Mpupha.
“We are not starters in the World Series, so we do not have the benefit of regular tournament competition. But we trained hard because we want to measure ourselves against teams with core status, such as Russia.
“We want to play against those teams and we want to try and beat them. That is a clear objective of the squad. We have worked hard for this opportunity at the Rugby World Cup Sevens and will make a determined effort to deliver a performance to justify our hard work.”
Fellow team member, Christelene Steinhobel, agreed with her captain and reiterated that they have a plan for the Russians.
“We have done a couple of sessions looking at the way they play and decided how we want to play against them,” said Steinhobel.
“I think our set-phases are better than theirs and we will also be looking to create width on the outside, where we have dangerous runners such as Nadine Roos.
“We have a plan on where to attack them and that will involve some direct running. But the crucial aspect will be the defensive effort. We need to put them under pressure with a huge defensive effort if we want to disrupt them.”
It will be a special occasion for the experienced Zenay Jordaan, who will be playing in her third Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament for South Africa - the first female player to be part of all three consecutive RWC7s.
Fellow backline player, Mathrin Simmers, will play in her second tournament at this level, while the rest of the squad will make their Rugby World Cup Sevens debuts in San Francisco.
Buhle Sonomzi, Snenhlanhla Shozi, Kimico Manuel and Babalwa Latsha will play for the Springbok Women’s Sevens team for the first time.
The match against Russia, which will be broadcast on SuperSport 1, starts at 19:44 on Friday.
The Springbok Women's Sevens team:
1. Marithy Pienaar
2. Christelene Steinhobel
3. Buhle Sonomzi
4. Babalwa Latsha
5. Zinhle Ndawonde
6. Mathrin Simmers
7. Zenay Jordaan
8. Zintle Mpupha (captain)
9. Eloise Webb
10. Nadine Roos
11. Snenhlanhla Shozi
12. Kimico Manuel