July 13, 2024

Chumisa Qawe to lead Springbok Women to Madagascar

CAPE TOWN – Chumisa Qawe will lead the Springbok Women to the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup in Madagascar this month where they will play Cameroon, Kenya and Madagascar over the next two weeks.

The DHL Western Province centre takes over from her provincial team-mate Nolusindiso Booi, who will miss the trip due to injury. Qawe is part of an experienced leadership core after Springbok Women interim head coach Louis Koen named Tayla Kinsey and Lusanda Dumke as vice-captains for the tour.

Koen said he is expanding the leadership group in the squad as they start building towards the Rugby World Cup in England in 2025.

“Best practice has shown us that teams with a strong and experienced leadership group do well at Rugby World Cups and I want to build on that,” said Koen.

“Chumisa has the leadership skills to do the job and her experience and understanding of what we want to achieve on the field gives me the confidence that she will lead the team well.”

Booi, Aseza Hele, Shaunique Hess, Eloise Webb and Aphiwe Ngwevu were all ruled out of the tour due to injury and are at various stages of their rehabilitation cycles.

Koen included Sizophila Solontsi, Zintle Mpupha, Rights Mkhari and Simamkele Namba in the tour squad to Madagascar. The quartet return to the fifteens fold for the first time since the Rugby World Cup last year, having recently represented South Africa in their triumphant World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series campaign.

Cheltenham Tigers tighthead prop Amber Schonert is the only player who has not travelled with the Springbok Women before. The 31-year-old former weightlifter is from Durban, but lives in England with her husband, Kurt, a former professional player at Richmond whose brother Nick is a former Junior Springbok prop.

Koen also confirmed the match day squad for their first ever clash against Cameroon. Former Junior Springbok Women wing, Asipe Mayaba, will make her debut for the senior side. Mayaba travelled with the team to Spain recently but did not play and will be the only player in the match-23 for the tour opener without Test match experience.

“We are playing three matches in two weeks, so we will have to rotate our players,” explained Koen.

“Some players that started against Spain will play off the bench this time as we manage workloads, but at the same time we are building depth, while injuries also impacted selection. That said, this remains an exciting team that will do the country proud.”

Qawe said being handed captaincy was a humbling experience.

“I am grateful to coach Louis for handing me this opportunity to lead this fine group of players,” she said.

“I have been privileged to play with Nolusindiso over the last three to four years and saw what is required of leadership. I am also lucky to have some strong leaders around me in the group and I am looking forward to his huge opportunity.”

The squad departs for Madagascar on Thursday. Kick-off against Cameroon is at 12h00 (SA time) on Saturday.

The Springbok Women team to face Cameroon:

15. Byrhandre Dolf, 14. Asiphe Mayaba, 13. Chumisa Qawe (captain), 12. Zintle Mpupha, 11. Jakkie Cilliers, 10. Mary Zulu, 9. Rumandi Potgieter, 8. Lerato Makua, 7. Nompumelelo Mathe, 6. Lusanda Dumke (vice-captain), 5. Danelle Lochner, 4. Sinazo Mcatshulwa, 3. Azisa Mkiva, 2. Roseline Botes, 1. Asithandile Ntoyanto.

Replacements:

16. Lindelwa Gwala, 17. Sanelisiwe Charlie, 18. Yonela Ngxingolo, 19. Vainah Ubisi, 20. Rights Mkhari, 21. Unam Tose, 22. Libbie Janse van Rensburg, 23. Simamkele Namba. 

Travelling reserves:

24 Amber Schonert, 25. Luchell Hanekom, 26. Sizophila Solontsi, 27. Tayla Kinsey (vice-captain), 28. Nomawethu Mabenge.

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