Springbok women’s coach Lawrence Sephaka has named seven new caps in his squad of 26 travelling to London and France for their warm-up tour ahead of the International Rugby Board (IRB) Women’s Rugby World Cup.
“It was extremely tough to select only 26 players for this tour,” Sephaka said on Wednesday.
“There are a handful of players who were unlucky not to secure places in the squad. But we are pleased with the group we have selected and I hope they give a good account of themselves in London and France.
“Some of these players have never played international rugby before and this tour will serve as a fantastic opportunity for them to experience the thrills and the challenges of playing at the highest level before the World Cup.”
The Springbok women will play two matches against the Nomads in London on June 28 and July 1.
They then travel to France to face the World Cup hosts and pool contenders on July 4 in an official Test in Marcoussis, where the round-robin stages of the World Cup are to be hosted.
Cindy Cant, Shona-Leah Weston, Celeste Adonis and Siviwe Basweni will represent South Africa for the first time on tour, while Springbok Women Sevens players Rachelle Geldenhuys, Benele Makwezela and Nosiphiwo Goda will make their first appearances for the Springbok Women’s 15-a-side team.
With the exception of Cant, all the players were included in the preliminary World Cup squad announced in March, and all participated in the Springbok Women’s XV matches against the Women’s Interprovincial XV last month.
Springbok Women’s Sevens back Marithy Pienaar and centre Ziyanda Tywaleni were not considered for the tour because of knee and hamstring injuries, respectively.
The final Rugby World Cup squad will be announced on Tuesday.
Springbok women’s squad:
Celeste Adonis, Siviwe Basweni, Nolusindiso Booi, Lorinda Brown, Cindy Cant, Nomathamsanqa Faleni, Phumeza Gadu, Rachelle Geldenhuys, Nosiphiwo Goda, Veroeshka Grain, Portia Jonga, Zenay Jordaan, Tayla Kinsey, Cebisa Kula, Thantaswa Macingwana, Benele Makwezela, Andrea Mentoor, Lamla Momoti, Nwabisa Ngxatu, Zandile Nojoko, Asithandile Ntoyanto, Fundiswa Plaatjie, Vuyolwethu Vazi, Denita Wentzel, Shona-Leah Weston and Mandisa Williams (captain). – Sapa