The South Africans, who won the first tournament at Markötter Stadium last Saturday, completed their structured training sessions in Cape Town on Wednesday, with only the traditional captain’s run left before they play Paraguay and Madagascar on Friday in their Pool A fixtures, followed by a Saturday morning clash with Thailand.

Like last week, the Cup quarter-finals will be played in the afternoon session of the second day, with the semi-finals and final for all the teams on the third day (Sunday).

Rather than looking at how other teams performed and bringing out the calculator, they want to determine their own success this weekend, said Springbok Women’s Sevens forward Sizophila Solontsi.

“We want to have our destiny in our own hands and do not want to go into a situation where other teams can move past us on the log, or where we will need another team to do us a favour and beat our nearest contender. If we keep positive in our play and continue to perform, we will determine our destiny ourselves,” she said.

The Springbok Women currently top of the standings with 20 points, followed by Belgium (18), China (16) and Poland (14), their nearest and most realistic contenders for the first place on the log and guaranteed HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series participation in 2024.

“The nice part of winning last weekend was the fact that it gave us faith in our processes and game plan,” said Solontsi.

“We trained for many months, but we now have the knowledge that the structures and game plan given to us by our coaches are working, if we execute properly. That is where our mindset is right now, to go and repeat that performance from last weekend.”

She said the pressure for the team is internal, but they are expecting a massive onslaught from the other contenders: “They will all be coming for us. Everyone here wants that first prize and will be out to get it. We must make sure no one snatches it from us.”

Echoing Solontsi’s sentiments is fellow forward Liske Lategan, who said they owe it to themselves to complete the mission.

Liske Lategan at training.

Liske Lategan at training.

“We have our foot in the door now, so this weekend is all about opening it and getting that World Series core team spot,” said Lategan.

“The knowledge that we did it last weekend helped a lot with this week’s preparation. This week was all about fine-tuning the aspects of our game that were not working properly last weekend. We need to play six perfect games in order to win.”

Lategan, who captained the side in last year’s Challenger Series tournament in Chile, said the fact that they are home has boosted them: “We had good support last weekend and we are urging more people to come to Stellenbosch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and support us in our effort to win the tournament. It does make it easier if you have that backing from the locals.”

The fact that they played and won against Madagascar and Thailand last weekend doesn’t make things any easier this weekend, Lategan insisted.

“Those teams will be desperate and last week was exactly that – we all start at zero this week,” she said.

“Our preparations were good and if the weather remains fair as predicted, we will be able to use all the skills in our squad. Those teams gave us a hard time last weekend and we don’t expect anything less from them.”

There is one change to the Springbok Women’s Sevens team from the side that outplayed Belgium 17-10 in the final, with Jakkie Cilliers replacing the injured Marlize de Bruin.

Springbok Women’s Sevens squad:

  1. Rights Mkhari
  2. Sizophila Solontsi
  3. Zintle Mpupha (co-captain)
  4. Simamkele Namba
  5. Liske Lategan
  6. Kemisetso Baloyi
  7. Mathrin Simmers (co-captain)
  8. Nadine Roos
  9. Eloise Webb
  10. Jakkie Cilliers
  11. Ayanda Malinga
  12. Zandile Masuku
  13. Libbie Janse van Rensburg

SA fixtures:

Friday, 28 April
11h44: Paraguay
14h46: Madagascar

Saturday 29 April
11h32: Thailand

Pools for the tournament:
D: South Africa, Thailand, Madagascar, Paraguay
E: Belgium, Czechia, Colombia, Papua New Guinea
F: China, Poland, Hong Kong China, Mexico

All matches will be streamed live here: