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APO International

Experienced Trio Return for Springbok Women’s Sevens

todayMay 24, 2024 2

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Three stalwarts have been recalled to the Springbok Women’s Sevens squad to contest the HSBC SVNS 2024 play-off tournament in Madrid next weekend, with head coach Renfred Dazel opting for experience for the most important tournament of the season.

Former captain Sizophila Solontsi, playmaker Libbie Janse van Rensburg and wing Veroeshka Grain were recalled by Dazel, who also roped in Byrhandrѐ Dolf in a fourth change to the squad that closed out their previous tournament, in Singapore, with consecutive wins.

Solontsi and Janse van Rensburg were stand-outs in last year’s World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series, helping South Africa to qualify for the HSBC SVNS Series, while Grain and Dolf return to the squad having last played in Cape Town and Perth respectively.

Solontsi, Grain and Dolf played for the Springbok Women in the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup in Madagascar earlier this month, while Janse van Rensburg completed her rehabilitation after picking up a groin injury in Dubai, the opening tournament of the 2024 series.

Dazel said the selection of the quartet was easy: “They were always part of the wider selection plan, especially with the Olympics coming into play in a couple of months.

“Injury prevented the selection of Libbie and Sizo earlier in the campaign, while Dolf and Veroeshka did well when they were called upon earlier. It is an honour for me to select those individuals,” Dazel said.

Their experience will also be crucial for the squad’s quest to retain their core status next season.

“All four have showed they care for the jersey so much when they last played and that is the attitude I am looking for from the Madrid squad,” said Dazel.

“It is going to be a fight from the first game to the last and will not be easy. That said, I have confidence in this group and how hard they will work for this team.

“The results did not always show the effort, but I am confident going into this tournament. We worked hard, the confidence is good, and we know what is at stake.”

South Africa will face fellow HSBC SVNS team Brazil in their pool, alongside Belgium and Argentina, who qualified through the Challenger Series. The two top sides qualify to the quarter-finals and the four winners of those will get the remaining four slots for next season’s series.

“We have played Belgium often in recent years – in fact, they come to Stellenbosch for a training camp every year and have sessions against us,” said Dazel.

“They have tall players and love an off-loading game. Brazil and Argentina have the same South American style of play and they love to play off rucks, for example. We have prepared accordingly, and I believe that we have what it takes to top the pool, so we leave for Madrid with a clear plan and calm heads.”

Pool fixtures:

Friday 31 May

12h00: Argentina

15h06: Belgium

Saturday 1 June

13h51: Brazil

Springbok Women’s Sevens squad for Madrid:

#10 Mathrin Simmers (co-captain) – 20 tournaments, 35 points (7 tries)

#4 Zintle Mpupha (co-captain) – 11 tournaments, 55 points (11 tries)

#7 Eloise Webb – 8 tournaments, 7 points (1 try, 1 conversion)

#17 Sizophila Solontsi – 2 tournaments

#96 Libbie Janse van Rensburg – 1 tournament, 0 points

#12 Liske Lategan – 9 tournaments, 15 points: (3 tries)

#16 Maria Tshiremba – 5 tournaments, 35 points (7 tries)

#9 Nadine Roos – 12 tournaments, 207 points (27 tries, 36 conversions)

#21 Byrhandrѐ Dolf – 2 tournaments, 0 points

#24 Veroeshka Grain – 11 tournaments, 85 points (17 tries)

#13 Kemisetso Baloyi – 7 tournaments, 0 points

#3 Ayanda Malinga – 7 tournaments, 65 points (12 tries)

#18 Shiniqwa Lamprecht – 7 tournaments, 0 points

Issued by SA Rugby Communications

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Rugby.

Note to editors: Audio notes of Renfred Dazel can be downloaded here (https://apo-opa.co/4bqV93o).

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