24 April 2014
The countdown to the 2014 IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in France reached exactly 100 days for the Springbok Women on Wednesday. They face Australia in their opening pool match in Marcoussis.
The Springbok Women will be appearing in their third successive World Cup, but have been handed a tough draw in Pool C. Apart from the Australians, they will also take on hosts France and Wales.
The 39-member preliminary World Cup squad, which includes the 15 contracted Springbok Women’s Sevens players, have been hard at work since January preparing for the tournament.
Captain Mandisa Williams said in a statement that she was confident this would pay off when her teams takes to the field in Marcoussis on 1 August.
“This is an exciting time for the Springbok Women,” she said. “The fact that there are only 100 days to go to the World Cup has definitely sparked excitement among the players because we have been working very hard towards this goal. But I have no doubt that this will also trigger some nerves because we now have only a little over three months to complete our preparations and reach our peak form.”
Williams added: “It is amazing how time flies. We began our preparations in January and all of the sudden there is a sense of urgency to make sure all the structures are in place and that players are as fit as can be. But we are excited about the tournament and we are optimistic that all the late nights at training and the weekend field sessions will pay off.”
The Springbok Women will participate in the South African Rugby Union’s Women’s Interprovincial tournament for their respective provinces in the next two months, with the competition kicking off on Friday.
The preliminary squad will then be reduced, with the players set to participate in a training camp at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria from 18 to 24 June before departing for Europe on 25 June for a Pre-World Cup tour.
The tour will feature two clashes against the Nomads in London and a match against France.
The clash against the French, who are the Women’s Six Nations champions, in particular, will be vital in the team’s preparations for what is expected to be their toughest pool clash at the World Cup, as it will give them an idea about what to expect from the hosts, while simultaneously allowing them to familiarise themselves with the country.
‘Invaluable game time’
“The pre-World Cup tour will be important in our preparation because it will offer us invaluable game time against quality opposition, while also exposing us to the playing conditions in Europe close to the World Cup,” Williams said.
“We are also grateful that we will face France before the World Cup because there is no doubt they will enter the tournament as one of the favourites after winning the Women’s Six Nations competition and also since they will have the luxury of home ground advantage.”
The women will reassemble in Stellenbosch on 14 July for their World Cup holding camp where the final touches will be made to their game plan for the showpiece, with the final 26-member World Cup squad departing for France on 27 July.
Springbok Women 2014 WRWC Pool Fixtures
- 1 Aug: Springbok Women v Australia – Marcoussis
- 5 Aug: Springbok Women v France – Marcoussis
- 9 Aug: Springbok Women v Wales – Marcoussis