Springbok women’s coach Lawrence Sephaka hit the ground running after his appointment on Monday and has set a clear target for his charges.
“If you don’t go for gold, what is the point of going to the World Cup? We are going for gold that is why we are putting all this effort in, so we want to take the competition by the horns,” the former Springbok prop said at a training session with Gauteng-based players at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Wednesday.
A Springbok Women’s preliminary World Cup squad have been working with satellite coaches around the country where they have been assisted by the Saru High Performance Mobi-Unit.
Sephaka said it was encouraging that the SA Rugby Union (Saru) was serious about women’s rugby by sharing the same kind of expertise that is involved with the other national rugby teams.
Working with the women in their different regions, Sepahaka said, would allow them to lay the right foundation before they went into camp.
“The time we have when we go into camp is not enough, so we’ve decided with the mobile groups to give them a camp environment,” he said.
“By the time we get together we won’t be focussing too much on the little details but rather on the bigger picture.”
During Wednesday’s session with the Gauteng-based players, Springbok scrum coach Pieter de Villiers helped players with techniques at the breakdowns.
“The women’s rugby is important to us because they are going to play in a world cup and while they may not have done that well in the past we are convinced that they can do well,” De Villiers said.
“We understand the reasons why they may not have done so well in the past because they had less game time and top-level coaches weren’t necessarily available to them.
“With the high-performance mobile unit we are trying to address that.”
De Villiers said he was helping the players to improve their skills in the contact situation, while the Mobi-Unit was sharing training methods and coaches with the team.
“They (the team) see themselves as players than can go there and collect a gold medal, which is the most important thing,” he said.
“We will travel where we can to see them sometimes in smaller groups with more specialised coaching but to do the maximum to give them the best chance of winning a world cup.”
The squad will assemble in Pretoria on June 18 for a seven-day training camp, which will be followed by a tour to London and France from June 25 to July 5 for warm-up matches against the Nomads and World Cup pool competitors, France, respectively.
The Springbok Women finished in 10th place at the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup in England and will face Wales, France and Australia in Pool C.