April 21, 2024

Tour spots up for grabs at Springbok Women camp

CAPE TOWN – Springbok Women head coach Louis Koen has named a squad of 32 players for a 10-day alignment camp in Cape Town, with places in the squad’s touring group to Europe next month an added incentive.

The squad to depart on 7 March will have training sessions against Scotland and Wales in the first two weeks before taking on Spain in a Test match in Valladolid on Saturday 23 March.

They will return to London for an encounter against the United States of America before returning to South Africa at the end of March.

The Springbok Women will then play in the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup in May. The continental showpiece, which will again take place in Madagascar, will serve as the official qualification tournament for the Rugby World Cup in England next year.

Amongst those hoping to lay a more permanent claim to higher honours is 31-year-old Nomsa Mokwai, with the Cape Town-based medical professional keen to add on her four Test caps since her debut in 2019.

Mokwai, a professional nurse who works in the emergency department of the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town, has England 2025 on her mind after missing out on the Springbok Women squad that played at the previous World Cup in New Zealand in 2022.

“I really want to represent the Springbok Women at the World Cup, that is something I have always dreamt about,” said Mokwai, a versatile forward who can play lock or flanker.

“I was very disappointed when I missed out last time around, but that is in the past. For now, it is about showing the new coaching staff that I can add value and be a significant squad member.”

Mokwai already showed some serious commitment and determination during the previous camp, when she attended training after working a 12-hour night shift, something she is taking in her stride.

“Yes, coming straight from that shift into a lineout session was not the easiest, but again, that just adds to the determination to play for the Springboks again,” she said.

When Mokwai made her Test debut – at the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifying tournament in Kempton Park – she had already played for the Springbok Women’s Sevens.

Mokwai played off the bench against Madagascar and Kenya in the African tournament, but made her first start against Spain in Port Elizabeth, when the European side toured South Africa a couple of months later.

Post COVID, she made a solitary appearance off the bench against Namibia in Cape Town in 2022, again in the Africa Cup.

“When I missed out on the New Zealand trip, I felt that I still needed to play at a high level,” she said.

“I joined the San Clemente Rhinos and we played, amongst others, a match against the Springbok Women just before the WXV tournament last year, and it did not go too bad.

“When the squad re-assembled for the new season, I was called up by coach Louis and I am enjoying every minute of it, even if it means losing out on some sleep,” she smiled.

Koen will announce the touring squad after the completion of the camp.

Springbok Women training squad:

Olwethu Kasibe, Hlomla Puzi, Amahle Nyoba (all EP Queens), Mary Zulu, Tayla Kinsey (both Hollywoodbets Sharks Women), Sikholiwe Mdletshe (Free State Women), Aphiwe Ngwevu (Border Ladies), Macaela Samboya, Veroeskha Grain, Chuma Qawe, Nompumelelo Mathe, Nokubonga Siko (all Sanlam Boland Dames), Rumandi Potgieter, Jakkie Cilliers, Sanelisiwe Charlie, Micke Gunter, Vainah Ubisi, Sinelitha Noxeke, Anathi Qolo, Nkhumishe Malatse, Byrhandrѐ Dolf (all Bulls Daisies), Roseline Botes, Asiphe Mayaba, Asiza Mkiva, Nolusindiso Booi, Sinazo Mcatshulwa, Nomsa Mokwai, Alicia Willemse (all DHL Western Province), Xoliswa Khuzwayo, Aliyah Tchogna-Njamen, Piwokuhle Nyanda (all Mastercard Golden Lions Women), Samantha Els (unattached).

Image: @WomenBoks/ Twitter

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