Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel said on Wednesday his team’s preparations for the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series opener in Dubai on December 4 and 5 was on track as the countdown begins to their debut season. The Springbok Women Sevens made history in September by qualifying for the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series for the first time. This feat also earned them the chance to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, as the top four teams on the log table at the end of the season will qualify automatically for the international spectacle.
The team gathered at their base in Stellenbosch in mid-October, and for the last three weeks their focus has been on improving their conditioning – a factor Dazel said was essential for the team to make their presence felt against the best sides in the world. They also had a round of practise matches against the Western Province women’s sevens team two weeks ago to improve their match fitness. Dazel hoped to arrange another round of matches before their departure for Dubai.
“I am pleased with the hard work the ladies have put in over the last few weeks. The conditioning drills have been tough, but it is fantastic to see the commitment and determination in the team. One can see the difference in the fitness levels among the players already, and we expect them to make even bigger strides before we travel to Dubai. Next week our focus will shift to working on our structures and skills, which will present a new challenge for the players, so we are on track in terms of where we would like to be,” said Dazel. The Springbok Women Sevens have been drawn in a challenging pool with 2013/2014 season runners up Australia, Spain and France in the Dubai tournament, and with only five tournaments next season to work their way into a position to qualify for the Olympic Games, the first series is expected to set the tone for their season. Dazel will select his 12-member squad a few days before they depart for Dubai on November 29.