The SA Rugby Union (Saru) confirmed on Tuesday that the Springbok Women Sevens team would not be competing at the Rio Olympics in 2016, despite achieving the qualifying standard of World Rugby.
The Springbok Women won the African qualifying competition in Kempton Park in September to satisfy the criteria of rugby’s world governing body. However, the team did not fulfil the criteria of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
“We are extremely disappointed for our Springbok Women,” said Oregan Hoskins, Saru president. “We placed our top players on a full-time programme two years ago and they are trailblazers for professional women’s sport and rugby in South Africa.
“Their appearance at such a showcase sporting occasion would have been inspirational for many young female athletes; but it was not to be.”
Hoskins said that Saru would continue with its women’s rugby programme despite the setback.
“Women’s sport is an imperative for national government and an increasing number of young South African women want to try their hand at rugby. We will be there to provide that platform.”
The Springbok Women Sevens team are next planned to be in action in the United States and Canada in March.