The Springbok Women’s Sevens will enter the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens Olympic Qualifier in Kempton Park this weekend with high hopes of a victory to achieve the last goal they set out for themselves this year, qualifying for the international extravaganza in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The Springbok Women’s Sevens will be among 10 teams going head-to-head in the Olympic Qualifier at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, on Saturday and Sunday for a sought-after place in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The other participating countries are Kenya, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Madagascar, Senegal, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana.
South Africa will meet Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe in the pool stages on Saturday and Uganda in their last round-robin match on Sunday morning. The last round of pool fixtures will be followed immediately by the final stages. Should the Springbok Women’s Sevens qualify for the Olympic Games, the ultimate decision on whether they will be able to participate in the international showpiece will lie with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
Boks Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel says: ‘One of the goals we set out at the beginning of the year was to meet the qualifying criteria for the Olympic Games. We always knew it would be a challenging task to finish in the top four on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series to gain automatic qualification, especially in our debut season as a core team on the circuit. But we have another chance to stay in the running for a possible place in the Olympic Games this weekend, and we hope to make the most of it. That said, our Olympic fate may not be in our hands, but at least if we win, we will secure the African title. This tournament, however, means much more to us than having a chance to meet the Olympic qualifying criteria. It is the first time we play a tournament in South Africa, and as a team we would like to impress the fans, our family and friends.’
Dazel was pleased with the team’s preparation and said if they implemented their game plan effectively, they could emerge victorious. He says: ‘We have been working hard to improve all the aspects of our game as the season progressed and we have come a long way on attack, defence, and in terms of our conditioning. If we play to our potential, defend well and use our point-scoring chances, I have no doubt that we can win the tournament. However, we are expecting tough competition. These teams have been working equally hard to make their presence felt, and mentally all of them will be psyched up with an Olympic spot up for grabs, so we know we will have to be at our best to win.’