Springbok Women's Sevens, Renfred Dazel

Springbok Women’s Sevens head coach Renfred Dazel. Photo: SA Rugby website.

Springbok Women’s Sevens side has ‘nothing to lose, everything to gain’

Renfred Dazel says while the Springbok Women’s Sevens face a few daunting challenges as a core team on the circuit, he is happy with their preparation and progress.

Springbok Women's Sevens, Renfred Dazel

Springbok Women’s Sevens head coach Renfred Dazel. Photo: SA Rugby website.

It doesn’t happen too often that a rugby coach is satisfied with the amount of preparation done before a major tournament, but that’s not the case for Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel on matchday minus one of the Emirates Dubai Sevens 2023, the first of eight tournaments in the new HSBC SVNS. 

The second of those, HSBC SVNS Cape Town, will be played next weekend.

“I am happy with our preparations and the time we had for this opening tournament,” said Springbok Women’s Sevens head coach said. .

“In total, we had close to eight weeks together as a group, four of those for the Olympic qualifiers (won in Tunisia) and four leading into Dubai. That was good, as the squad really worked hard in this time, and we came here well prepared.”

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It is a daunting challenge for the Springbok Women’s Sevens squad, the newcomers for the 2024 series having earned their slot by winning both Challenger Series tournaments seven months ago.

“We had quite a number of players who then went back to fifteens after that, and they had to be reconditioned to play sevens again, but that went well and we are ready for this exciting start to our season,” said Dazel.


Despite starting the season with four newcomers to the circuit, Dazel is not worried: “We have some old hands here, such as Mathrin (Simmers) and Zintle (Mpupha), our co-captains. They have played sevens on the circuit before, and they do bring a lot of calmness to the group.

“Add the energy and passion someone like Nadine Roos adds to any team, and the test match experience someone like Libbie Janse van Rensburg brings to the group, and we are in good hands.

“Sadly Eloise Webb, a senior player, will miss this opening weekend due to an injury, but that offered an opportunity to Shiniqwa Lamprecht, who, at 20 years of age, is in both fifteens and our squad, such is her talent. I am anticipating a good showing from someone like Kyla de Vries as well,” Dazel added.

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The Springbok Women’s Sevens’ Pool A opponents, New Zealand, Fiji and Great Britain, will bring huge challenges, but for Dazel, also much needed exposure and experience.

“We are embracing the fact what we have those three teams, all ranked in the top six of the tournament,” he said.

“We came here to be competitive in every game. Despite the brilliance of New Zealand, we will take the game to them in that opener Saturday morning. The new format will give us even more opportunities. Losing bonus points and the fact that no draws are allowed will challenge all teams and we want to exploit that to our advantage.

“We have nothing to lose, but so much to gain by playing these top teams so early in the series.”

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For Simmers, who will extend her record tally of World Series tournaments to 14, there is no doubt either.

“We prepared well and made the best of the time in camp. We are in a good space physically and mentally, and ready to go,” said Simmers, who will make her fifth World Series appearance in Dubai, another first for the Springbok Women’s Sevens record books.

Their goals are set, she explained: “We want small gains and small wins and follow that up with bigger ones. If we tick the boxes one by one, we will have a good result come our final match on day two.”

Roos, the leading points’ scorer in the squad, said although each player will have personal goals and ambitions, this weekend will first and foremost be about a collective effort.

“We made it onto the circuit by playing as a team and being a squad that have each other’s back,” said Roos. “Nothing will change in that regard, we are still playing for each other and for our country, what an amazing honour to do.”

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Springbok Women's Sevens, Asisipho Plaatjies
Springbok Women’s Sevens player Asisipho Plaatjies. Photo: Via SA Rugby website.