Springbok Women captain Babalwa Latsha.

Springbok Women captain Babalwa Latsha. Photo: SA Rugby website.

Springbok Women eager to expand rugby footprint

There is deep gratitude and excitement in the ranks of the Springbok Women squad as they prepare to take on Samoa in a Test match in Hermanus on Saturday.

Springbok Women captain Babalwa Latsha.

Springbok Women captain Babalwa Latsha. Photo: SA Rugby website.

The match will serve as yet another opportunity to strengthen the team’s identity on and off the field. That is the view of Springbok Women captain Babalwa Latsha in preparation for the match, which is scheduled to start at 15h00 at Hermanus High School.

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It will be both teams’ final opportunity to prepare in a match situation before WXV 2 kick-offs in Stellenbosch next Friday.

The Springbok Women had a late injury setback when Jakkie Cilliers was ruled out of the match and WXV 2 due to an ankle strain. She has been replaced in the starting team by Unathi Mali, who was originally named on the bench.

In the absence of Cilliers, Bok Women head coach Louis Koen opted to include six forwards and two backs among the replacements, with Micke Gunter coming onto the bench for the Samoa match.

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Latsha said: “We are not only getting another opportunity to play Test rugby but also at a venue we have not played at before.

“We want to play in front of new faces and fans, but as important is that this match will give us yet another chance to look at our executions when it comes to our game plan.

“Samoa will bring a physical challenge, but that is exactly what we want to face right now. We make no bones about the fact that we are also a team that gets energy from set pieces and physicality, but we also have speed and skills in our squad. This match will give us that final opportunity to smooth out any hiccups.”

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Latsha said they are under no illusions that this will be a proper Test match, with special milestones for Nolusindiso Booi – who will become the most capped Springbok Women’s player – and Maceala Samboya, who will earn her first cap.

“It’s wonderful to share both sides of the spectrum on one day – we are very happy for Maceala as she is from the Boland region,” said Latsha.

“What can one say about Cindi? She has been such a driving force in the women’s game for so many years now. To be able to share this achievement with her tomorrow is something very special for all of us.

“She has also helped me tremendously in my own career and development as a player, as she did for so many other players.”

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Latsha said they are hoping for a good crowd: “We want to spread our brand and inspire young women to take up the game, and this is such a wonderful opportunity to do that.”

The match kicks off at 15h00, and entrance is free while the action will also be streamed live on the Official Springboks YouTube channel.

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Match detail: Springbok Women v Samoa Women

Venue: Hermanus High School, Hermanus
Kick-off: 15h00
Referee: Precious Pazani (Zimbabwe)
Assistant referees: Giana Viljoen, Zoe Naude
TMO: Quinton Immelman
Livestream: Official Springbok YouTube: https://tinyurl.com/63v594x8

Updated Springbok Women vs Samoa in Hermanus — 15 Byrhandrѐ Dolf, 14 Micaela Samboya, 13 Veroeshka Grain, 12 Piwokuhle Nyanda, 11 Unathi Mali, 10 Libbie Janse van Rensburg, 9 Unam Tose, 8 Lusanda Dumke, 7 Catha Jacobs, 6 Nompumelelo Mathe, 5 Vainah Ubisi, 4 Nolusindiso Booi (vice-captain), 3 Babalwa Latsha (captain), 2 Roseline Botes, 1 Asithandile Ntoyanto.
Subs: 16 Luchell Hanekom, 17 Yonela Ngxingolo, 18 Amber Schonert, 19 Danelle Lochner, 20 Sinazo Mcatshulwa, 21 Micke Gunter, 22 Rumandi Potgieter, 23 Mary Zulu.

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Springbok Women Rugby
Springbok women’s interim Head Coach Louis Koen and captain Babalwa Latsha at the announcement of the squad to represent South Africa in World Rugby’s WXV 2 tournament. Image via @WomenBoks X (Twitter)