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Big guns return for Springbok Women

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    Posted: 11-Oct-2023 at 12:07pm

Four players with Rugby World Cup experience will earn their first starts for the Springbok Women on home soil in 2023 in their opening match of the inaugural WXV2 against Scotland in Stellenbosch on Friday.


Tayla Kinsey, Aseza Hele, Lindelwa Gwala and Sanelisiwe Charlie all missed out on the Tests against Kenya and Samoa in the lead-up to the brand-new showpiece of the women’s game.


The quartet – who bring with them more than 80 Tests worth of experience – are returning from injury and well-timed rehabilitation protocols and are ready to be unleashed against Scotland, the ninth ranked team according to the latest World Rugby rankings.


Springbok Women head coach Louis Koen also named Shaunique Hess on the wing and Chuma Qawe at fullback in a reshuffled squad from the one that played against Samoa last weekend.


Hess last played against Spain in April. Qawe made her debut against Scotland in 2019 and also played against England at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand last year, but this will be her first outing since Koen took over as coach.


“We have a squad of 30 and plan to rotate them in our three matches this month,” said Koen.


“For this weekend and following our planning for the WXV opener, the squad selected will be the one that we believe will give us the best chance against Scotland.”


On the return of Hele, Kinsey, Charlie and Gwala, the Bok coach was pleased to see pre-match planning coming into fruition: “The four returnees bring valuable experience and also come in fresh after working hard to get back to match fitness, so credit to them and our medical staff for putting in the hours away from the limelight.”


Koen added that they have a broader objective as well that impacted on the selection strategy.


“We are working towards Rugby World Cup 2025, and it will be important to have an experienced core of players for that, so giving them as much test match experience as possible will also benefit us in the long run,” he said, adding that they have good balance in the match day squad.


“We will have a good set-piece and the rotation will mean that we will be eager and fresh. I believe we will be competitive in this match. Last weekend, Nolusindiso Booi started against Samoa and Danelle Lochner played off the bench, so we are rotating them, as we do with Catha Jacobs and Sinazo Mcatshulwa and I am confident that each of those will make a significant contribution in the match.”


Koen said they are realistic in their approach against the Scots: “They are improving with rapid strides and had some great wins in the Six Nations earlier in the year. They play with a lot of pace, they have a good kicking game and are well-coached and organised, so this is going to be a real challenge for us.


“We will be tested, but that is what we need. We want these games and more of them to improve and build towards our goal to become a top five side in the world.


“This will be a perfect opportunity to see where we are in our growth and progress.”


Kick-off is at 16h30 and the match will be preceded by the tournament opener between Italy and Japan (14h00). WXV tickets are available here. All matches will be broadcast live on SuperSport.


Springbok Women v Scotland in Stellenbosch:

15. Chuma Qawe - 4 caps, 0 points

14. Maceala Samboya - 1 cap, 5 points (1 try)

13. Veroeshka Grain - 14 caps, 35 points (7 tries)

12. Piwokuhle Nyanda - 5 caps, 0 points

11. Shaunique Hess - 2 caps, 10 points (2 tries)

10. Libbie Janse van Rensburg (vice-captain) - 17 caps, 161 points (7 tries, 48 conversions, 9 penalty goals, 1 drop goal)

9. Tayla Kinsey - 28 caps, 48 points (2 tries, 16 conversions, 2 penalty goals)

8. Aseza Hele - 18 caps, 30 points (6 tries)

7. Sinazo Mcatshulwa - 24 caps, 45 points (9 tries)

6. Lusanda Dumke - 25 caps, 30 points (6 tries)

5. Danelle Lochner - 7 caps, 10 points (2 tries)

4. Vainah Ubisi - 6 caps, 0 points

3. Babalwa Latsha (captain) - 24 caps, 20 points (4 tries)

2. Lindelwa Gwala - 25 caps, 25 points (5 tries)

1. Sanelisiwe Charlie - 10 caps, 5 points (1 try)


16. Roseline Botes - 13 caps, 40 points (8 tries)

17. Yonela Ngxingolo - 25 caps, 10 points (2 tries)

18. Amber Schonert - 3 caps, 0 points

19. Nolusindiso Booi (vice-captain) - 37 caps, 10 points (2 tries)

20. Catha Jacobs - 12 caps, 0 points

21. Micke Gunter - 6 caps, 0 points

22. Rumandi Potgieter - 9 caps, 0 points

23. Mary Zulu - 5 caps, 2 points (1 conversion)

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