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Friday, December 9, 2022

Nadine Roos aiming to shine on biggest stage for Springbok Women

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Johannesburg – It’s hard to believe that Nadine Roos began her Test career only a year ago.

The 26-year-old has recently thrilled in her fifteens performances, cutting through defences with exciting attacking play from fullback. As witnessed against Spain and Japan a few months ago, she declared herself as a playmaker in words and actions – one who can spot a gap, accelerate with exhilarating speed and unleash her teammates to convert or finish the job herself.

She also participated in the Rugby Cup Sevens in Cape Town last month, adding to her experience and repertoire. Roos and the Springboks now have their sights firmly on the opening Women’s Rugby Cup match against France on Saturday at Eden Park.

“I am a playmaker in Sevens,” Roos explained on Tuesday of the shift back to fifteens, “and need to find space for the rest of my teammates.

“In that regard, not much has changed. Obviously, it’s a more congested defence; and field position remains crucial, so the game management is another area of decision-making.”

Considering that the showpiece event was initially scheduled to be played last year and was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, SA rugby can consider themselves extremely lucky to now have the prodigious talents of Roos at their disposal.

Although only a veteran of eight Test matches, Roos will be one of the players to watch at the tournament. The No 15 started her international career against France last year – a 46-3 drubbing – but argued that the upcoming match against the selfsame opposition this weekend will be different on both an individual and team level.

“I know and understand fifteens so much better than 11 months ago – at that time, I was just starting out playing fifteens, so I was learning as I went along,” said Roos.

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“That first Test match against France was not the easiest match I participated in, but I will remember it for the rest of my life. Any athlete wants to compete at the highest level and that was my entry into Test rugby.

“Now I am playing on an even bigger stage, the Rugby Cup and I could not be prouder of that fact.”

Roos insisted that SA were not in the Land of the Long White Cloud to make up the numbers and that there was a very real chance of them causing massive upsets, starting with Rugby’s fourth ranked nation, Les Bleus.

“We certainly have grown and developed from that day in Vannes – not only me, but the rest of the squad as well,” she said.

“We are now in a position where we can cause an upset on Saturday. We came to New Zealand to win matches and that first opportunity to do so will present itself on Saturday.”

Kickoff for the match is at 3.45am.

@FreemanZAR

Sport

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