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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Springboks all ready for Rugby Cup opener against France

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Durban — The Springbok Women’s team has been given the honour of opening the Cup in New Zealand on Saturday in their match against France and captain Nolusindiso Booi says the occasion can do wonders for the game in South Africa.

The tournament opener featuring Booi and her charges promises to be the most watched women’s match day in rugby’s history.

“One has to understand the significance of this tournament and how it can elevate the women’s game on a global scale, but even more so, how it can promote the game back home in South Africa,” Booi said from Auckland.

“We have often said — and we honestly believe it — that we want to touch the lives of young girls back home, that we want to show them there is a future and a place for you if you play rugby. This is our opportunity indeed.”

The Springbok Women arrived in New Zealand as a low-key participant, with only Japan and Fiji ranked lower than South Africa, while they are not given much of a chance against tournament favourites England and France in Pool C.

“We know we play for our country and that it is a huge honour that we find massively uplifting,” Booi said. “But we need to show more than just running out there and singing the anthem.

“We need to prove to all of those who will take the time to watch us that we are indeed a team worth investing in, whether it is financially or emotionally. We get this opportunity on Saturday when there will be thousands and thousands of eyes on us.”

The Springbok Women had a live training session against Scotland on Saturday and that performance fills Booi with confidence.

“We played in heavy rain and that is not something we were used to, so getting a taste of the conditions was hugely beneficial,” she said.

“We realised that we were making certain mistakes because of those conditions and that we need to adapt to execute better. Those are things on which we can work.

“What was very pleasing was the way our pack played and especially how dominant our scrum was against them. We were in total control and that was a huge boost for our confidence.

“France will bring huge intensity, but so will we. When we play as a team, we are pretty hard to contain. Our physicality is a strength, and we will be looking to use that well against France on Saturday.”

@MikeGreenaway67

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