The Springbok Women had an exciting 2020 season lined up, with the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup and a year-end tour to Europe scheduled, but their matches were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Booi admitted that their inability to play rugby this year was not ideal in terms of their Rugby World Cup preparations, she encouraged her charges to stay focused and driven with a little over a year to go before the international spectacle. 

The 2021 extravaganza – which will run from 18 September to 16 October in New Zealand – will mark the Springbok Women’s fourth Rugby World Cup appearance, and their first in seven years after last featuring in the 2014 tournament in France.

“These are unprecedented times, and although this challenge is unlike any other we have faced, my message to the team is that the pandemic should not be an obstacle in attaining our goals,” said Booi. 

“We have a big task ahead next year, which requires commitment and discipline in everything we do, so it is important that we remain positive and allow this to make us stronger.

“Diamonds are formed under extreme conditions of pressure, and I’d like the team to keep that in the back of their minds as they continue to put in the hard yards on their own until we are able to assemble as a team again.”

On a personal note, Booi was confident about her return to action after missing the 2019-season following surgery to repair a broken foot, and said she is now able to follow the same training programme as her team-mates.

“It is great to be able to train full-out again,” said Booi. 

“The last year was very challenging, but following my rehabilitation programme and all the hard work to get to this point paid off, and I am looking forward to getting back onto the field when rugby resumes.”

Booi also had a message for the women of South Africa as they commemorate Women’s Day, saying: “Stay positive, be supportive of one another and follow your dreams.”