The Springbok Women’s Sevens have been in Kenya since Sunday for a training camp with their African counterparts, but friends will become foes on Saturday as the teams battle it out for the title of CAR Women’s Sevens champions.
South Africa have been drawn in Pool A with hosts Kenya, Senegal and Madagascar, while Pool B features Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
The Springbok Women’s Sevens registered a convincing 29-5 victory in the final against Tunisia last year and also won the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011 titles, earning them the status as favourites at this year’s edition of the series.
“We have performed well in the CAR Women’s Sevens over the years and we come off an encouraging third-place finish at the Hong Kong Invitational, so I have no doubt the other teams would tip us favourites,” said Dazel.
“This means we will be targeted, so we have to be at our best to retain the title.”
Dazel said the tournament would also form part of their preparation for the International Rugby Board (IRB) Women’s Sevens World Series leg in Amsterdam on May 16 and 17, their biggest tournament of the year.
One of the team’s main goals in the next two seasons is to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, and Dazel hopes that a strong performance in Amsterdam will impress the IRB and help them secure a spot in the core Sevens World Series group next year.
“We have the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series coming up, so we will use this tournament as preparation,” said Dazel.
“It is vital that we perform well and build our confidence because we will face the top teams in the world next month and we would like to make a statement on the world stage.”
Springbok Women Sevens CAR pool fixtures: 10am (11am Kenya time): SA v Senegal; Noon (1pm Kenya time): SA v Madagascar; 1.20pm (2.20pm Kenya time): SA v Kenya.
Springbok Women’s Sevens squad: Zenay Jordaan (captain), Marithy Pienaar, Nomaphelo Mayongo, Vuyolwethu Vazi, Lorinda Brown, Nomsa Mokwai, Veroeshka Grain, Rachelle Geldenhuys, Jackie Kriel, Nosiphiwo Goda, Mathrin Simmers, Fundiswa Plaatjie.