July 14, 2024

Mandisa Williams: More funding is needed in women’s rugby

CAPE TOWN – Bulls Daisies assistant coach Mandisa Williams has called other unions to look for sponsors to invest more in women’s rugby.

The former Springbok Women captain was one of the new recruits this season for the Pretoria-based side having previously coached the Eastern Cape based outfit, Border Ladies.

This season saw the Daisies rebranding their squad as part of an ambitious plan to elevate the women’s game in that province.

In making that a possibility, Daisies also roped in a new coach, Hayden Groepes.

Williams says her arrival in Pretoria has changed things in the management set-up, something that makes them more respected on the field.

However, she has called for tougher competition after the Daisies became a powerhouse having signed some of the Bok Women players to bolster their squad.

“My wish to be honest in South Africa is to see other unions go out there and look for more funding so that they will come to pump it into women’s rugby,” she said.

“I am happy to be here but at the same time I look at where I come from in the Eastern Cape and other unions, they are all big but they need to be strengthened financially in order to be in the same position like here in Pretoria – especially the Eastern Cape who are wealthy of talent.

“We need that so much because we want to see a strong Women’s Premier Division and other women’s leagues in SA – we want to see a strong competition. Yes, I want to win but at the same time I’m a mother who wants to see other children happy, a one-sided tournament is not competitive.”

The Bulls Daisies have won all their games so far in the tournament making them a strong side so far in the campaign.

Williams believes that even though it’s still early in the season, the new set-up at Bulls has made the side stronger and more powerful than other clubs.

She says joining the Bulls was a challenge she was ready to take.

“I would say ever since I joined the Bulls things have changed, I’ve brought the mother figure environment. The set-up has changed completely and that is not because of me but the Bulls company did that,” she said.

“We have high-quality management in coach Hayden Groepes and who came with a wealth of experience. How can I forget our Women’s High-Performance Manager Thando Manana as well.

“So adding me to that equation with my experience has made us stronger than ever.”

In responding to the saying that she lured some of the Border players to Pretoria, Williams says she would love to take the credit but decisions were made way before she arrived.

“I was the last person to join the team, the players were approached way before my arrival – the time Bok Women were doing a curtain raiser match against Spain at Ellis Park,” she continues.

“The players said yes to the High-Performance Manager.

“If the players want to make a living through sport we can’t refuse them. Eastern Cape does struggle a bit I know but when other teams are well off why would we refuse players.”

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