Durban — Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Paul Delport has named an experienced squad for the 2022 season which will culminate with the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town in September.
Delport has named eight seasoned players in Rights Mkhari, Lusanda Dumke, Mathrin Simmers, Eloise Webb, Buhlebethu Sonamzi, Sizophila Solontsi, Liske Lategan and 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens hat-trick hero, Snenhlanhla Shozi.
They will be joined by some of the country’s most prominent players as they start their preparations for a season that also includes the Rugby Africa Cup in April, where the Imbokodo will try and qualify for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in July.
Amongst those are Test players Lerato Makua, Donelle Snyders, Simamkele Namba, Felicia Jacobs, Alichia Arries, and Ayanda Malinga — all of whom were part of the Springbok Women’s squads in 2021.
Delport and Springbok Women's coach Stanley Raubenheimer are working closely together to best manage the players in their respective squads — Raubenheimer is preparing for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in October and the two national coaches are aligned on how to best utilise players of national interest this year.
Delport’s squad will on Monday start a week-long camp at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sports.
SA Rugby High Performance Manager for Women, Lynne Cantwell, said the restart of the Imbokodo programme will be a huge boost for women’s sevens.
“It is fantastic to have the team up and running again and knowing that we have some huge opportunities ahead,” said Cantwell.
“The Rugby World Cup Sevens at home will be an unforgettable experience but that is not our only objective this year. The Rugby Africa Cup Sevens in Tunisia in April will offer entry to the Commonwealth Games, so that could be another huge opportunity.”
For Delport, the camp will provide a much-anticipated return to the training field: “This is such a great opportunity for us as a group.
“The players invited obviously have the skillset we are looking for at the Imbokodo, so this camp will be the first step to see how they shape in a team environment, what areas of their game need some fine-tuning and how they understand our sevens game plan.
“There is no doubt in my mind about the potential of the squad and our improvement to a competitive level will be a responsibility I embrace with both arms as coach,” Delport added.
A second camp is planned for mid-February and a third early in March.
Springbok Women's Sevens training squad: Rights Mkhari, Lerato Makua, Ayanda Malinga, Kemisetso Baloyi (all Blue Bulls), Asisipho Plaatjies, Lusanda Dumke, Snenhlanhla Shozi (all Border), Mathrin Simmers, Eloise Webb, Anelca Hess, Liske Lategan, Anacadia Minnaar (all Boland), Buhlebethu Sonamzi (Eastern Province), Sizophila Solontsi (Sharks), Donelle Snyders, Simamkele Namba, Felicia Jacobs, Alichia Arries, Amber Meiring, Bianca Augustyn (all Western Province).