Springbok Women back in action in Rugby Africa Women's Cup

South Africa will face Zimbabwe in their opening game and then Namibia on 23 June, with all the action to be broadcast live on SuperSport.

Springbok Women's captain Nolusindiso Booi. Picture: @WomenBoks/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - The Springbok Women will have their first taste of international action this year in the Rugby Africa Women's Cup that kicks off on Wednesday in Cape Town.

South Africa will face Zimbabwe in their opening game and then Namibia on 23 June, with all the action to be broadcast live on SuperSport.

The Test will be the first for the Springbok Women since the match against Wales in Cardiff last November.

Springbok Women head coach, Stanley Raubenheimer, named an experienced squad for their first game; 13 players from that end-of-year tour will start in the season’s opener at City Park in Athlone.

Veteran Nolusindiso Booi resumes the captaincy in this first Test match.

Border Ladies centre, Aphiwe Ngwevu, and Cell C Sharks lock, Nompumelelo Mathe, missed the November tour, but find themselves back in green and gold after they last played against Kenya in August 2021.

Nadine Roos will start at fullback after two November Test appearances on the wing, while the in-form Libbie Janse van Rensburg will start at flyhalf, after coming off the bench against Wales, and Ayanda Malinga will earn a first Test start since 2019.

With the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand around the corner, Raubenheimer named three debutants on the bench as well: the DHL Western Province trio of Luchell Hanekom (hooker), Azisa Mkiva (prop) and Nokubonga Siko (flank) rewarded for their fine performances in the Women’s Premier Division over the last two years.

All three were part of the Bok Women’s alignment camps in recent months, so they will be in familiar territory.

There are also recalls to the pack for locks Nomsa Mokwai and Karthy Dludla. Mokwai (DHL WP) last played for the team in 2019 as a Leopards player and a Northwest University student, while Dludla’s last appearance was against Scotland in that same year.

Raubenheimer said every match from here on would be important and experiments were not on the agenda as they prepared for the World Cup in October.

“Some of our players picked up niggles in Saturday’s Women’s Premier Division final and we decided to give them a rest, which forced our hand in selections a bit,” said Raubenheimer.

“We are slowly but surely trying to put combinations together as we have six Test matches remaining before the World Cup starts. For Aphiwe and Nompumelelo, this is an opportunity to again play international rugby and show to us that they want to be here. We are hoping to build strong competition in the squad.”

The coach said there would be no pressure on the uncapped players named on the bench: “We want to see how they do at a higher level than they are used to, but there will be no pressure on them to do anything spectacular. They have been with us for a while now and if they do get a chance to play, we hope to see them execute what they have shown on the training field.”

Rugby Africa named Saudah Adiru from Uganda as the referee for the 15h00 kick-off at City Park in Cape Town.

South Africa's Ashleigh Murray-Pretorius will handle the Test match between Zimbabwe and Namibia on 19 June at the same venue (kick-off 13h30), and Japan's Eri Kamimura has been appointed for the final match of the tournament, when South Africa take on Namibia on 23 June at 15h00.

Springbok Women versus Zimbabwe:

  1. Nadine Roos - 2 caps, 0 points

  2. Nomawethu Mabenge - 4 caps, 5 points (1 try)

  3. Zintle Mpupha - 9 caps, 56 points (10 tries, 3 conversions)

  4. Aphiwe Ngwevu - 7 caps, 15 points (3 tries)

  5. Ayanda Malinga - 4 caps, 15 points (3 tries)

  6. Libbie Janse van Rensburg - 4 caps, 10 points (2 tries)

  7. Tayla Kinsey - 17 caps, 36 points (1 try, 14 conversions, 1 penalty goal)

  8. Sizophila Solontsi - 8 caps, 10 points (12 tries)

  9. Sinazo Mcatshulwa - 10 caps, 15 points (3 tries)

  10. Lusanda Dumke - 10 caps, 15 points (3 tries)

  11. Nompumelelo Mathe - 5 caps, 0 points

  12. Nolusindiso Booi (captain) - 26 caps, 10 points (2 tries)

  13. Babalwa Latsha - 11 caps, 10 points (2 tries)

  14. Lindelwa Gwala - 12 caps, 5 points (1 try)

  15. Yonela Ngxingolo - 12 caps, 5 points (1 try)

Replacements:

  1. Luchell Hanekom - uncapped

  2. Asithandile Ntoyanto - 7 caps, 5 points (1 try)

  3. Azisa Mkiva - uncapped

  4. Karthy Dludla - 7 caps, 0 points

  5. Nomsa Mokwai - 3 caps, 0 points

  6. Nokubonga Siko - uncapped

  7. Unam Tose - 5 caps, 0 points

  8. Zenay Jordaan - 29 caps, 71 points (10 tries, 6 conversions, 3 penalty goals)