Pienaar to lead Springbok Women’s Sevens to Dubai
The experienced Marithy Pienaar will spearhead the Springbok Women’s Sevens’ challenge at the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens International Invitational next week.
She will be joined by experienced sevens players Zenay Jordaan, Eloise Webb, Mathrin Simmers and Nadine Roos in a youthful-looking squad named by coach Paul Delport for this tournament, to be played from 29-30 November at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai, with a number of regulars missing out.
Pienaar is taking over the captaincy from regular skipper Zintle Mapupha, who is doing duty with the Springbok Women’s team touring Europe at the moment, while Snenhlanhla Shozi, Babalwa Latsha and Zinhle Ndawonde are not available for the Dubai trip due to the reason.
No less than six players will play for the team for the first time and Delport feels that his young side should gain from the experience of playing against quality teams and getting used to the intensity and level of other international squads.
“We have to develop our squad and improve our playing depth as we are going into a very important cycle, that of Olympic qualification,” said Delport.
“We need every opportunity we can get to improve and test ourselves against other sides, as we are not part of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series and this will provide us with that chance.”
The six new players identified by Delport to stake a claim for more permanent honours are Ayanda Malinga, Claudine Marais, Nokuthula Nene, Courntney Groener, Sizo Solontsi and Voice Ndou.
“They are all deserving of a chance and I think they can add value to the side and show me why they should become regulars,” said Delport.
South Africa will face Wales, Almaty Women’s Sevens (Kazakhstan) and Arukas Queen Kumagaya (Japan) in their pool matches, and Delport would like his team to enjoy the experience.
“We played Wales at the Commonwealth Games last time, so that will be a good starting point for us to see where we are with the new squad,” said Delport.
“The focus will be on performing well in that one and improve from that base. The other two will also be full of international players from Kazakhstan and Japan, so will test us as well. Ultimately, we would like to leave Dubai a better team than the one who arrived there.”
The Springbok Women’s Sevens team is:
- Courtney Groener
- Nokuthla Nene
- Buhle Sonamzi
- Sizo Solontsi
- Zenay Jordaan
- Voice Ndou
- Eloise Webb
- Claudine Marais
- Nadine Roos
- Mathrin Simmers
- Ayanda Malinga
- Marithy Pienaar (captain)