Springbok Women's Sevens coach Paul Delport initially named 12 players in his squad for the final tournament of the 2022 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for Women when it was announced in Stellenbosch last week and indicated that he will add one more player on Monday.
Former team captain Mpupha, who is plying her trade with Premiership club Exeter Chiefs, was released to join the South Africans in France after their match against Bristol Bears.
“We are really happy to have Zintle available for us this weekend in Toulouse and I cannot thank her head coach, Susie Appleby, enough for releasing her to come and play,” said Delport.
“Her availability will no doubt help us to be more competitive during the weekend. She is very excited to play for her country again and so are we.”
Mpupha’s last appearance for the Springbok Women’s Sevens team – as captain at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens in December 2019 – is but a distant memory, but that will soon be refreshed at Stade Ernest-Wallon on Thursday, when South Africa face Australia (10h36 SA time) and USA (17h44) on the first day of the tournament.
“I was told about four days ago that I might be joining the team this weekend and it is an unreal feeling to be standing here at the hotel, getting ready to go and have a gym flush-out session with them,” said Mpupha, who arrived a few hours after the team touched down in Toulouse.
“I have not played sevens in almost three years, so it is pretty exciting times for me.”
Mpupha joined Exeter on a professional contract last year and last played for the Springbok Women in November, scoring a try against Wales in Cardiff in her last outing in Green and Gold.
“It is a huge weekend for the team with all the youngsters and I hope to bring some calm into the squad and make sure we gel as a team and enjoy the moment,” she added.
Mpupha believes there will be no pressure on the players are they are coming into this World Series event as an unknown quantity and underdogs: "We are up against big name players and superstars, so we should not focus on them, but rather on our effort at the tournament. We need to go out and enjoy and take in and learn as much as possible.”
The Springbok Women's Sevens squad (with World Series stats):
- Lerato Makua – uncapped
- Asisipho Plaatjies – uncapped
- Ayanda Malinga – uncapped
- Snenhlanhla Shozi – uncapped
- Donelle Snyders – uncapped
- Anacadia Minnaar – uncapped
- Eloise Webb – 3 tournaments, 13 matches, 2 points (1 conversion)
- Sizophila Solontsi (captain) – 1 tournament, 4 matches
- Nadine Roos – 3 tournaments, 14 matches, 41 points (7 tries, 3 conversions)
- Mathrin Simmers – 8 tournaments, 40 matches, 30 points (6 tries)
- Alichia Arries – uncapped
- Liske Lategan – 1 tournament, 4 matches, 10 points (2 tries)
- Zintle Mpupha – 4 tournaments, 19 matches, 25 points (5 tries)