The Springbok women’s team are beginning to feel the anticipation ramp up for the 2021 Rugby World Cup, as Friday marked exactly one year until the kick-off of the event in New Zealand.
The tournament, which is the first Women’s Rugby World Cup to be hosted in the southern hemisphere, will be held in New Zealand from September 18 to October 16 next year. It will mark the Springbok Women’s first appearance in the World Cup since 2014.
Springbok Women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer said: “It is great that there is a such a big occasion for us to look forward to a year from now.
“It has been a challenging six months with the team not being able to do much more than home-based training due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it was necessary to ensure their safety and well-being.
“That said, it has been pleasing to see the players following their conditioning programmes and putting in the hard work behind the scenes, and we are all itching to get back on the field.”
Lock Nolusindiso Booi, who reclaimed the captaincy after recovering from surgery to repair a fracture in her foot, said: “I am very excited and overwhelmed at the same time. Playing in the World Cup will be a dream come true for most of the players, so it is a notable milestone, and the anticipation is certainly being complemented by hard work.
“When we take the field we will no longer be representing ourselves, but rather our country, so we know it is going to be a great challenge, but we are really looking forward to.”
Centre Zintle Mpupha echoed her skipper’s sentiments and said: “One year from now the team will be in New Zealand ready to kick off our World Cup campaign, and the fact we are now at a stage where we can count down to the event makes this occasion even more exciting.
“This will mark the team’s first appearance in the World Cup since 2014, which makes next year’s showpiece even more significant for us. There is a lot of work ahead in the next year, but we are determined to go out there and be competitive.”
Meanwhile, Raubenheimer was delighted about the announcement that Johannes would accompany the team to the extravaganza as the official coaching intern as part of World Rugby’s 2017-25 Women in Rugby Strategic Plan, whereby they have set an ambitious target to have a minimum of 40 per cent female coaches at the 2025 World Cup.
“Laurian is a passionate coach whose success within the junior structures at Western Province, and with the SA Under-20 Women’s team last year in their series victory against Zimbabwe is a testament to her coaching abilities,” said Raubenheimer.
“There is no doubt that the experience she will gain from travelling with the team to the World Cup will boost her coaching career and set her in good stead going forward.”
In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo