nolusindiso booi springbok women

The Springbok Women believe that their preparations are spot on ahead of Saturday’s Rugby World Cup opening match against France in Auckland. Photo: SA Rugby website

Springbok Women in Rugby World Cup opener: When and where to WATCH

The Springbok Women believe that their preparations are spot on ahead of Saturday’s Rugby World Cup opening match against France in Auckland.

nolusindiso booi springbok women

The Springbok Women believe that their preparations are spot on ahead of Saturday’s Rugby World Cup opening match against France in Auckland. Photo: SA Rugby website

The Springbok Women believe that their preparations are spot on, that their gameplan is solid and that the will to win is as strong as it has ever been, says Springbok Women captain, Nolusindiso Booi, which adds together to make them a dangerous opponent in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup opening match against France at Eden Park in Auckland.

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Booi and her team-mates are eagerly awaiting their return to the biggest stage of the game, following their last appearance at the Rugby World Cup way back in 2014.

The Springbok Women believe that their preparations are spot on ahead of Saturday’s Rugby World Cup opening match against France in Auckland. Photo: SA Rugby website

“It is a massive relief that we can get going again at this level, because this is where we want to play at. We want to compete against the best teams in the biggest competitions and they do not come bigger than this,” said Booi, who will be competing in her third tournament, after being part of the 2010 and 2014 events.

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She shared her thoughts after the traditional captain’s run on the day before kick-off and said the experience of visiting Eden Park was another boost to the team.

“It is a very nice stadium, steeped in history. The playing surface looks great and knowing that the stands will be packed during the opening day of matches is a boost to the team. We want to play in front of big crowds in big stadiums and this will happen tomorrow. That is a special feeling, especially for me reflecting back to the status of women’s rugby in SA when I played in 2010 and even 2014. Women’s rugby is ready to explode onto the world scene and we are part of that,” she said.

Booi said the goodwill received from everywhere, but especially South Africans was a boost to the team.

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“We have received so many well wishes and messages of support already and that inspires us. We have a realistic outlook of our chances in this tournament, we are ranked 11th in the world and never finished higher than 10th. But I can tell you now, this is the best prepared team we have ever fielded. We are ready, there is a good core of players and all of us are ready to embrace the moment.”

France will be a tough nut to crack and they have not lost in four previous encounters with the Springbok Women.

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“Stats will tell you one thing, but I know the heart of this team. We are here to show everyone we can also play this game, that we have the ability to compete. We have a plan against France, as good as they are. We are not running onto the field just for the sake of it.”

The Springbok Women made several slow starts in Tests this year, while France have been quick out of the blocks in their matches in 2022, so it could turn ugly quickly if the SA side are not sharp from the start.

“It has been a problem yes, but the way we trained, the energy and good spirits in the team, combined with a clear vision of how to approach and execute this game makes me confident that we will make South Africa proud on Saturday,” said Booi.

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Selected stats

  • South Africa have won only three matches out of 15 at the Rugby World Cup – against Kazakhstan and Wales in 2010 and Wales in 2014.
  • Zenay Jordaan will equal Zandile Nojoko’s tally of 34 Test caps if she is used off the bench. Her 98 points is also the most by any player in Tests, but that could be surpassed by Libbie Janse van Rensburg (96), who scored 86 of those points in 2022.
  • Zintle Mpupha could also extend her try-scoring record of 16 tries (15 Test matches) if she manages to cross the French try-line.

Match details

South Africa v France

Venue: Eden Park, Auckland

Kick-off: 03:15 (SA time)

Referee: Maggie Cogger-Orr (New Zealand)

TV: SuperSport Variety 4

Previous results against France:

10 August 2009: Draw 17-17 at Oakville, Canada

4 July 2014: France won 46-8 at Marcoussis, France

5 August 2014: France won 55-3 at Marcoussis, France (Rugby World Cup match)

6 November 2021: France won 46-3 in Vannes, France

The Springbok Women team to face France:

15. Nadine Roos (Blue Bulls Women) – 8 tests, 25 points (5 tries)
14. Nomawethu Mabenge (EP Queens) – 8 tests, 25 points (5 tries)
13. Zintle Mpupha (Western Province) – 15 tests, 86 points (16 tries, 3 conversions)
12. Aphiwe Ngwevu (Border Ladies) – 12 tests, 35 points (7 tries)
11. Simamkele Namba (Western Province) – 6 tests, 30 points (6 tries)
10. Libbie Janse van Rensburg (Blue Bulls Women) – 10 tests, 96 points (4 tries, 26 conversions, 7 penalty goals, 1 drop goal)
9. Tayla Kinsey (Sharks Women) – 21 tests, 44 points (2 tries, 14 conversions, 2 penalty goals)
8. Aseza Hele (Boland Dames) – 13 tests, 25 points (5 tries)
7. Sinazo Mcatshulwa (Western Province) – 15 tests, 35 points (7 tries)
6. Sizophila Solontsi (Sharks Women) – 13 tests, 25 points (5 tries)
5. Rights Mkhari (Blue Bulls Women) – 8 tests, 35 points (7 tries)
4. Nolusindiso Booi (captain, Western Province) – 30 tests, 10 points (2 tries)
3. Babalwa Latsha (Western Province) – 17 tests, 10 points (2 tries)
2. Lindelwa Gwala (Sharks Women) – 18 tests, 10 points (2 tries)
1. Sanelisiwe Charlie (EP Queens) – 4 tests
Replacements:
16. Roseline Botes (Western Province) – 5 tests, 10 points (2 tries)
17. Asithandile Ntoyanto (Border Ladies) – 12 tests, 10 points (2 tries)
18. Monica Mazibukwana (EP Queens) – 3 tests
19. Catha Jacobs (Blue Bulls Women) – 7 tests
20. Lusanda Dumke (Border Ladies) – 15 tests, 25 points (5 tries)
21. Unam Tose (Border Ladies) – 11 tests
22. Zenay Jordaan (EP Queens) – 33 tests, 98 points (13 tries, 12 conversions, 3 penalty goals)
23. Eloise Webb (Border Ladies) – 7 tests, 30 points (6 tries)