Koen recalled two of his most experienced front rankers, Lindelwa Gwala (hooker) and Sanelisiwe Charlie (loosehead prop) into the starting team, with Roseline Botes moving to the bench while Asithandile Ntoyanto drops out of the match day 23 for the match at Stade Makis in Antananarivo.

Koen also named Sizophila Solontsi at No 8, resulting in Lerato Makua moving from the back of the scrum to flanker, with Nompumelelo Mathe dropping to the bench.

In the backline, Unam Tose and Libbie Janse van Rensburg have been named as the starting halfbacks, with Rumandi Potgieter and Mary Zulu dropping out of the match day squad, while Tayla Kinsey has been named as replacement scrumhalf as Koen opted for a split of six forwards and two backs on the bench.

Nomawethu Mabenge will resume her role as regular starter at right wing, with Asiphe Mayaba dropping out after making her Test debut last Saturday.

Libbie Janse van Rensburg.

Libbie Janse van Rensburg.

Having watched the Springbok Women at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand on television last year and being inspired by their performances, UK-based prop Amber Schonert could become the latest capped player after being named on the bench for a potential debut.

Koen said of the Cheltenham Tigers prop’s inclusion: “We are looking for a specialist tighthead in our squad, someone who is renowned for scrumming, and I think we found that in Amber. I and excited about her adding value if she comes off the bench.”

For Koen, facing Kenya with an experienced squad is paramount: “They secured a good win over Madagascar in their opening match last week, have some impressive players and are clearly well coached.

“Having an experienced core of players will help us to counter that. We have a team experienced in playing Test rugby and I think we can bank on that in what will be a very important match in this tournament.

“This also provides another opportunity for a couple of the younger players to step up against a physical opponent as we continuously look to broaden our base and get more test match experience in the wider squad,” added Koen.

Nomawethu Mabenge.

Nomawethu Mabenge.

The Springbok Women team to face Kenya:
15. Byrhandrѐ Dolf – 3 caps, 0 points
14. Nomawethu Mabenge – 14 caps, 30 points (6 tries)
13. Chumisa Qawe (captain) – 13 caps, 5 points (1 try)
12. Zintle Mpupha – 19 caps, 91 points (17 tries, 3 conversions)
11. Jakkie Cilliers – 6 caps, 22 points (2 tries, 3 conversions, 2 penalty goals)
10. Libbie Janse van Rensburg – 13 caps, 121 points (5 tries, 33 conversions, 9 penalty goals, 1 drop goal)
9. Unam Tose – 15 caps, 0 points
8. Sizophila Solontsi – 16 caps, 25 points (5 tries)
7. Lerato Makua – 8 caps, 0 points
6. Lusanda Dumke (vice-captain) – 21 caps, 25 points (5 tries)
5. Danelle Lochner – 3 caps, 0 points
4. Sinazo Mcatshulwa – 20 caps, 35 points (7 tries)
3. Azisa Mkiva – 4 caps, 0 points
2. Lindelwa Gwala – 23 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
1. Sanelisiwe Charlie – 8 caps, 0 points
16. Roseline Botes – 10 caps, 25 points (5 tries)
17. Yonela Ngxingolo – 22 caps, 5 points (1 try)
18. Amber Schonert – uncapped
19. Vainah Ubisi – 2 caps, 0 points
20. Rights Mkhari – 11 caps, 50 points (10 tries)
21. Nompumelelo Mathe – 12 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
22. Tayla Kinsey (vice-captain) – 26 caps, 48 points (2 tries, 16 conversions, 2 penalty goals)
23. Simamkele Namba – 9 caps, 35 points (7 tries)

Match information: Springbok Women v Kenya
Date: Wednesday, 24 May 2023
Venue: Stade Makis, Antananarivo, Madagascar
Kick-off: 12h00 (SA time)
Referee: Maria Heitor (Portugal)
Livestream: Rugby Africa Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/RugbyAfrique)

17/08/2019: SA won 39-0 (Brakpan)
12/08/2021: SA won 66-0 (Stellenbosch)
16/08/2021: 29-22 (Stellenbosch)

Selected stats:

  • Libbie Janse van Rensburg could extend her Springbok Women record of 121 test points scored on Saturday.
  • Amber Schonert could make her debut off the bench, thus becoming the seventh new cap for the team this season.
  • Zintle Mpupha could extend her record of 17 test tries for the Springbok Women.