Marithy Pienaar will captain the Springbok Women Sevens in Dubai in the opening leg of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens World Series on December 4 and 5 in the absence of regular captain Zenay Jordaan who will continue her knee rehabilitation. Springbok Women Sevens coach Renfred Dazel announced his 12-member touring squad for the tournament on Tuesday, which features experienced Rugby World Cup Sevens campaigners Lorinda Brown, Veroeshka Grain and Phumeza Gadu, as well as a few newer faces in Sinazo Nobele and Shona-Leah Weston. Weston’s selection, in particular, marked the perfect gift on her 23rd birthday today.
A squad of 14 players have been based in Stellenbosch since mid-October to prepare for the series, which marks their debut on the World Series circuit as one of the core teams, and Dazel hoped the familiarity within the squad would set them in good stead to make their mark in the opening tournament. “We are in a fortunate situation to be able to name a squad that has been together for almost a year and we hope this will contribute to a competitive performance. The core of the team has been training together since last year when we were preparing for the Dubai International Invitational, and we drafted in a few new players from the Springbok Women’s 15-a-side set-up who have brought in additional skills, so we are pleased with the quality of the team. Ten of these players were also members of the squad that booked South Africa a place on the World Series circuit in Hong Kong in September, so we will enter the tournament with a squad that can handle pressure,” said Dazel. Dazel admitted that Jordaan’s absence was a blow to the team, but he was confident that the squad would cope without her, “Zenay is an experienced player and an inspirational leader, so it is a blow. But we have a strong and capable captain in Marithy and a team that boasts vast international experience, and I have full faith in them to do the job in Dubai.”
The Springbok Women Sevens will face defending Dubai Women’s World Series champions Australia in their opening pool match, followed by clashes against Spain and France. They squad will depart for Dubai on Saturday.
Springbok Women’s Sevens squad for Dubai World Series:
Marithy Pienaar (Captain)
Springbok Women Sevens Dubai World Series fixtures (SA times):
09:00 – Australia vs SA
12:18 – Spain vs SA
14:52 – France vs SA