The Springbok Women’s Sevens departed for the Atlanta World Series on Monday determined to improve on their performances in the Brazil and Dubai tournaments as the World Series reaches the halfway stage. The team will face hosts the USA, World Series log-leaders New Zealand and Russia in the pool stages on Saturday March 14. Only three tournaments remain after the Atlanta leg for the team to climb the log table for a possible place in the 2016 Olympic Games and to retain their place on the World Series next season.
The team has to finish in the top nine on the log standings to achieve this feat. Should they finish in 10th position or lower on the standings at the conclusion of the season, they will have to participate in a World Series Qualifier to retain their place as a core team on the circuit next season. The team is currently in 11th place. Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel said on Monday although his team expected a tough onslaught on tour, they were looking forward to the challenge.
Dazel said: ‘We have been working hard to correct the mistakes we made in the last two tournaments and also on improving our game in general. We know that a massive task awaits us in Atlanta especially with clashes lined up against the home team (USA), the log-leaders (New Zealand) and a quality Russian outfit. However, one of our main goals is to successfully implement that which we have been working on at training in our matches. As a team we know that we are capable of better results than that in Dubai and Brazil and hopefully we can prove that in the US.’ With the team having to undertake the long journey from Cape Town to Johannesburg and then to Atlanta via Washington, Dazel said it was important to manage the players well when they arrive at their destination. Dazel added: ‘Fortunately we will have a few days to acclimatise before taking to the field on Saturday. But player management will be essential when we touch down because it is a long trip. However, if the players rest well and they have time to adapt to the time zone and lower temperatures following our arrival, they will be good to go on Saturday.’
Springbok Women’s Sevens squad for the Atlanta World Series:
Zenay Jordaan (captain)
Springbok Women’s Sevens Atlanta fixtures on March 14 (reflecting SA time 7 hours ahead of Atlanta):
20:50 – USA vs SA
23:12 – New Zealand vs SA
02:18 – Russia vs SA