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Re-jigged Springbok Women 'so into this game'

By Matt Merritt
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 16: Aseza Hele of South Africa runs the ball during the Pool C Rugby World Cup 2021 match between Fiji and South Africa at Waitakere Stadium on October 16, 2022, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Springbok Women head coach Stanley Raubenheimer has decided to shake up his team for their game against England. The South Africans sit bottom of their group but are not mathematically out of the race, though they face a stiff test in the 28-game unbeaten Red Roses.

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Six changes have been made from their team against Fiji last weekend and it would have been seven were it not for a late withdrawal from Simamkele Namba that has seen former Exeter Chiefs centre Zintle Mpupha drawing back into the starting fifteen. She’ll start alongside Chumisa Qawe who may find herself in the record books should her twin sister Chuma, who will wear the 23 shirt, join her on the field as they would be the first pair of twins to represent South Africa at a World Cup.

The Qawe twins will be making their World Cup debuts, as will front row substitutes Micke Gunter, Yonela Ngxingolo and Azisa Mkiva, as well as lock Nompumelelo Mathe and scrum half Rumandi Potgieter.

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Springbok Women’s captain Nolusindiso Booi on her journey to the top | Rugby World Cup 2021

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Springbok Women’s captain Nolusindiso Booi on her journey to the top | Rugby World Cup 2021

Speaking ahead of the game, captain Nolusindiso Booi highlighted the importance of giving new players their shot. “It’s a very exciting squad because they include young players that haven’t played so far, and we can see their energy during the sessions this week,”

“They are extremely excited and knowing that they are playing in the Rugby World Cup, it is something so big and I know we’re going to challenge England.” The lock added. “Our players are so into this game, and we’re excited and happy at the same time knowing that being there on the field and giving everything that we have can bring us rewards. “

Booi has faith in her squad but doesn’t underplay the mountain they will have to climb if they want to end the Roses run. “If we want to spring the surprise of the tournament, we need to execute well when we have the ball. We have done that in stages so far in the tournament, but we need to put it all together on Sunday.”

“Whatever happens, we must leave the field knowing we left nothing out there. That is what I have asked the players and I believe they will respond,”

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Turlough 1 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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