25 June 2014
Springbok Women’s captain Mandisa Williams says she and her team are ready to measure the quality of their game against international opposition on their Women’s Rugby World Cup warm-up tour of England and France.
Williams was speaking on Tuesday ahead of the squad’s departure on Wednesday for London, where they will play two matches against the Nomads on 28 June and 1 July, followed by a test against France in Marcoussis, outside of Paris, on 4 July.
The Springbok squad gathered in Pretoria last week for a training camp, and after a week of high-tempo field and gym sessions, Williams said they were keen to implement what they had learned at training against quality opposition.
‘We have worked very hard’
“We have worked very hard at the training camp in the last few days,” said Williams. “We have been tested mentally and physically, as we had a few training sessions a day, so the players have a good idea of what is expected of them on tour, and they are ready to measure themselves against quality opposition.”
Apart from exposing the players to a high level of competition, which is vital in the lead-up to the World Cup, Williams said the tour would also provide clarity on the areas of the team’s game that require extra attention before the international spectacle.
The Women’s Rugby World Cup will be hosted in France from 1 to 17 August. The Springbok Women have been drawn in a challenging pool with Australia, hosts France, and Wales.
Williams, who will be participating in her third successive Women’s World Cup, expects a tough onslaught on tour and said it was important for her charges to approach their tour matches with the same attitude as that expected at the World Cup.
‘A quality team’
“The Nomads always field a quality team, and this year we are expecting a few World Cup fringe players to be included in the squad, which means they will be determined to prove their worth,” Williams said.
“The clash against France will be even tougher because that is an official test match, and it will serve as a dress rehearsal for our World Cup pool game, so it will be important for us to perform well.
“As a team we hope to take several lessons from this tour to ensure that we are as well prepared as possible when we depart for the World Cup.”