Former SA Under-20 utility back Kirsten Conrad will make her Springbok Women’s Sevens debut in the Canada Sevens World Series on April 18 and 19. Conrad, who featured in the 2013 Under-20 Nations Cup in England, was invited to train with the squad in January as Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel looked to increase the depth in his squad. Her inclusion in the 12-member squad was one of three changes to the group that featured in the Atlanta Sevens last month, with the others being the return of speedster Veroeshka Grain, who has recovered from a knee injury, and Lorinda Brown.
They replace Siviwe Basweni, Nosiphiwo Goda and Zaandre Theron respectively. South Africa will face hosts Canada, the USA and Russia in the tournament, which marks round four of the World Series. Dazel says: ‘Kirsten has been training with us for a few months and she has made immense progress since joining us, so her selection is just reward for the hard work she has put in. She is a talented player and she is only 18 years old, so she has a bright future ahead of her. One of her main strengths is her speed and this is an important trait in Sevens, especially in a tough tournament such as the World Series. It is also good to have Veroeshka and Lorinda back as they are veterans in the game, and this experience will be invaluable as we face another tough pool round.’
Dazel was pleased with the preparation for the tournament and said the players realised that they had to step up their game significantly to achieve better results than that in the first three legs of the series. The coach says: ‘We are halfway through the circuit and unfortunately we haven’t performed as well as we would have liked to, so hopefully we can take a step forward in Canada. We learned valuable lessons in the first half of the competition, and one of the keys to improving will be to avoid making the same mistakes going forward. We also have to lift our standards on defence.’ The Springbok Women’s Sevens will depart for Canada on Monday.
Springbok Women’s Sevens team for Canada Sevens Series:
Zenay Jordaan (Capt)
Springbok Women’s Sevens pool fixtures in the Canada Sevens (April 18):
21:28 – USA vs SA
00:50 – Canada vs SA
03:28 – Russia vs SA