April 19, 2024

Nyanda eyes another first in Spain this week

CAPE TOWN – There is a golden thread between Spain and the rugby career of Springbok Women midfielder, Piwokuhle Nyanda.

Five years ago in 2019, aged 26, the Mastercard Golden Lions Women’s player made her international debut against Los Leonas in Nelson Mandela Bay. She followed it up with consecutive Tests against Scotland and looked set for a long career in the Bok midfield by the end of that season.

But sometimes life serves you lemons and Nyanda had to wait until 2023 before she could add to her three caps when Louis Koen named her in his squad to play in the inaugural WXV 2 tournament last October.

Come 2024 and the bubbly Nyanda is determined to make sure Koen continues to write down her name next to No 12 on the team sheet – as he has done in the last five Tests for the Bok Women.

This week in Spain, Nyanda could possibly earn her first Test start away from South Africa after eight Tests in Valladolid on Saturday.

“It is my first visit to Spain and if selected the first time I will play in a test match abroad, so it is super exciting times for me,” said Nyanda.

“The trip so far has been great, with the Scotland and Wales stops providing a good reflection on what to expect this weekend. Those teams are ahead of us on the world rankings, as is Spain, so the challenge and mission is to close that gap as soon as possible.”

Team goals aside, Nyanda has set her own objectives as well: “I want to stay in the team for as long as possible. I missed out on the previous Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, so I really want to be part of the group that completes the journey for the 2025 tournament to England next year.

“I want to – as coach Louis always says – make sure I stay in the same room where the team is. That will only happen if I deliver consistent performances that reward the trust the coaching staff have put in me.

“After this tour Madagascar awaits, where we can qualify for the Rugby World Cup and I want to be part of that as well. For now though, we should look at Spain and no further.”

In her last five outings, Nyanda impressed on defence and attack, something she attributes to hard work.

“Hard work pays off, that has always been something I believed in and live by on the rugby field,” she said.

“It is another reason to be close to this team, they don’t shy away from hard work and that creates a good team environment.”

Nyanda, a graduate in Operations Management, is a keen student of the game as well and would love nothing more to see rugby grow in leaps and bounds amongst female players.

“Our team slogan is ‘every try to inspire a girl’ and that is a true reflection on what we hope to achieve on the field,” she said.

“It is about inspiring the next generation of players by showing them what is possible. To do that, we need to play rugby that attracts them to the game and these two forthcoming Test matches will be part of that journey.”

Image: @WomenBoks/ Twitter.

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