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Changes to Springbok Women team for Kenya

Posted on Tuesday, 07 May 2024

Changes to Springbok Women team for Kenya

Springbok Women head coach Louis Koen made nine changes to his starting team and 11 overall when he named his squad to play Kenya in the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup at Stade Makis in Antananarivo on Wednesday.

Free State Women outside back Sikholiwe Mdletshe will earn her first cap after being named on the left wing, while regular starter Sinazo Mcatshulwa returns at flanker for South Africa’s second match of the tournament, after they outplayed Cameroon 55-0 in the opening match on Saturday.

Koen selected a new midfield, where Jakkie Cilliers will link up with Aphiwe Ngwevu, a try-scorer off the bench against Cameroon. Tayla Kinsey, South Africa’s most capped scrumhalf, will swop places with Rumandi Potgieter after playing her 33rd Test match off the bench at the weekend.

Squad personnel Azisa Mkiva, Roseline Botes and Xoliswa Khuzwayo swap their opening match bench role for starting positions in the front row against Kenya.

Botes (hooker) swops places with Lindelwa Gwala and Khuzwayo (prop) with Sanelisiwe Charlie. Mkiva replaced the injured Aliyah Tchogna-Njamen early in the Cameroon game, which means Amber Schonert, who made her Test debut at the same venue last year, will provide tighthead cover against Kenya.

Vainah Ubisi and Nomsa Mokwai also swop jerseys, with Ubisi starting and Mokwai moving to the bench where she will be joined by Unathi Qolo, who will be keen to start her contribution to the Springbok Women’s quest to qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup in England.

The Springbok Women’s last Test against Kenya was in September 2023 at the University of Western Cape Stadium in Bellville, where South Africa won by 77-12.

Only five players who started against Kenya in that Test are back and will run out in the starting line-up again: Cilliers, Mcatshulwa, Botes, Byrhandrè Dolf and Lusanda Dumke.

Koen said he is keen to see Mdletshe in action at this level.

“She has been really good at training in recent weeks and having her on board for our European tour is now reaping rewards,” said Koen.

“She did not get the opportunity in Spain or England, but kept on working hard and contributed on and off the field, so I am delighted for her to get that first cap.”

The Bok Women coach, who opted for a split of six forwards and two backs on the bench, said team selection is a reflection on how they are approaching this Test.

“We want to focus on our processes, and we selected the team accordingly. We have prepared the team well and we are good to go,” said Koen.

“We have a strategy for this match and how to nullify Kenya’s attacking strengths and selected our team accordingly. We got over the first hurdle, but that was only the start.

“Kenya will present a huge challenge with South Africa’s Jerome Paarwater coaching their forwards and many of our players back home (as DHL Western Province forwards coach).”

The Test is scheduled to start at 12h00 (SA time) and will be broadcast live on YouTube and SuperSport.

Springbok Women team to face Kenya:
15. Byrhandrè Dolf (Bulls Daisies) – 12 Tests, 15 points (3 tries)
14. Nomawethu Mabenge (Sanlam Boland Dames) – 17 Tests, 65 points (13 tries)
13. Jakkie Cilliers (Bulls Daisies) – 11 Tests, 29 points (2 tries, 5 conversions, 3 penalty goals)
12. Aphiwe Ngwevu (Border Ladies) – 19 Tests, 40 points (8 tries)
11. Sikholiwe Mdletshe (Free State Women) – uncapped
10. Mary Zulu (Sharks Women) – 9 Tests, 14 points (7 conversions)
9. Tayla Kinsey (Sharks Women) – 33 Tests, 48 points (2 tries, 16 conversions, 2 penalty goals)
8. Sizophila Solontsi (Bulls Daisies) – 19 Tests, 40 points (8 tries)
7. Sinazo Mcatshulwa (DHL Western Province) – 29 Tests, 45 points (9 tries)
6. Lusanda Dumke (Bulls Daisies) – 29 Tests, 35 points (7 tries)
5. Vainah Ubisi (Bulls Daisies) – 12 Tests, 5 points (1 try)
4. Nolusindiso Booi (captain, DHL Western Province) – 43 Tests, 5 points (1 try)
3. Azisa Mkiva (DHL Western Province) – 7 Tests, 0 points
2. Roseline Botes (DHL Western Province) – 18 Tests, 40 points (8 tries)
1. Xoliswa Khuzwayo (Golden Lions Women) – 3 Tests, 0 points
16. Lindelwa Gwala (Ealing Trailfinders Women) – 30 Tests, 50 points (10 tries)
17. Sanelisiwe Charlie (Bulls Daisies) – 17 Tests, 5 points (1 try)
18. Amber Schonert (Sale Sharks Women) – 4 Tests, 0 points
19. Nomsa Mokwai (DHL Western Province) – 6 Tests, 0 points
20. Nompumelelo Mathe (Sanlam Boland Dames) – 18 Tests, 25 points (5 tries)
21. Anathi Qolo (Bulls Daisies) – 2 Tests, 0 points
22. Rumandi Potgieter (Bulls Daisies) – 16 Tests, 0 points
23. Piwokuhle Nyanda (Golden Lions Women) – 11 Tests, 0 points

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