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Road to Rio: Bok Women get contracts

SARU has awarded contracts to 15 Springbok Women Seven players en route to 2016 Rio Olympics Games.

SARU has awarded contracts to 15 Springbok Women Seven players en route to Rio Olympics Games.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Rugby Union (Saru) has awarded national contracts to 15 Springbok Women Sevens players for the first time in history in a move towards the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The group includes, Zenay Jordaan, Mathrin Simmers and Veroeshka Grain, who participated in the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, as well as the 15-a-side Rugby World Cup qualifier against Uganda last season.

"This is a watershed moment for Women's rugby in South Africa," said Saru CEO Jurie Roux.

"It shows that we have faith in our players and that SARU is serious about Women's rugby. We are determined to see the ladies excel on the international stage, and by raising the level of professionalism in the women's set-up, we believe results will follow."

Saru was the first union to award full-time national contracts to the men's Sevens team in the 2008/2009 season.

"Women's rugby worldwide has grown tremendously in the last few years and with the inclusion of sevens rugby in the Olympic Games from 2016 we believe it will be even more popular in future," said Erasmus.

"In line with this growth it was essential to align our structures with international standards in order to compete successfully against the best teams in the world. This is certainly a massive milestone for Women's rugby in South Africa."

The contracts range from five to 12 months.