Springbok Women coach Stanley Raubenheimer retained his starting XV for their second Rugby World Cup clash in New Zealand and made only one change to the replacements for Sunday’s match against Fiji, which kicks off at 06h45 (SA time) in Auckland.
Nolusindiso Booi will lead the same team on the field, while Springbok Women’s Sevens forward Lerato Makua has been named on the bench, where she replaces Catha Jacobs, who played against France at Eden Park on Saturday.
Makua, with five test caps to her name, recently played for South Africa at Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town and could earn a second gong just over a month later in Auckland.
Raubenheimer expressed his confidence in the squad and said although the names on the team-sheet are the same, their outlook will be different.
“Everyone came out of the French opener unscathed, which was really good news for us as it meant we could go with the same group again against Fiji,” said Raubenheimer.
“The players have now experienced the intensity of this Rugby World Cup and showed that they are improving with every Test.
“We again had a slow start due to all the nervous energy and we hope that this time, the same team will be calmer and more focussed in those opening minutes. If we selected a bunch of new players, they would not have been as settled as this group is now.”
Raubenheimer was also pleased with the performance of the starting team against the French: “The pack of forwards had some nice momentum and showed against France that they can compete with any of the top sides. We want that momentum to continue.”
According to the coach, Makua’s inclusion was a tactical decision: “We were looking for a little more speed and mobility and Lerato will give us that, especially in the second half when we hope to attack a bit more.
“We are hoping to tire Fiji out in the first hour and then attack with players such as Lerato, Lusanda Dumke, Roseline Botes and Zenay Jordaan coming on. Catha has done nothing wrong, but she is a more physical player, so we opted for Lerato, who is faster, more mobile and better suited to our plan in the second half.”
The Springbok Women team to face Fiji in Auckland:
15. Nadine Roos (Blue Bulls Women) – 9 tests, 25 points (5 tries)
14. Nomawethu Mabenge (EP Queens) – 9 tests, 30 points (6 tries)
13. Zintle Mpupha (DHL Western Province) – 16 tests, 86 points (16 tries, 3 conversions)
12. Aphiwe Ngwevu (Border Ladies) – 13 tests, 35 points (7 tries)
11. Simamkele Namba (DHL Western Province) – 7 tests, 30 points (6 tries)
10. Libbie Janse van Rensburg (Blue Bulls Women) – 11 tests, 96 points (4 tries, 26 conversions, 7 penalty goals, 1 drop goal)
9. Tayla Kinsey (Cell C Sharks Women) – 22 tests, 44 points (2 tries, 14 conversions, 2 penalty goals)
8. Aseza Hele (Boland Dames) – 14 tests, 25 points (5 tries)
7. Sinazo Mcatshulwa (DHL Western Province) – 16 tests, 35 points (7 tries)
6. Sizophila Solontsi (Cell C Sharks Women) – 19 tests, 25 points (5 tries)
5. Rights Mkhari (Blue Bulls Women) – 9 tests, 35 points (7 tries)
4. Nolusindiso Booi (captain, DHL Western Province) – 31 tests, 10 points (2 tries)
3. Babalwa Latsha (DHL Western Province) – 18 tests, 10 points (2 tries)
2. Lindelwa Gwala (Cell C Sharks Women) – 19 tests, 10 points (2 tries)
1. Sanelisiwe Charlie (EP Queens) – 5 tests
16. Roseline Botes (DHL Western Province) – 6 tests, 10 points (2 tries)
17. Asithandile Ntoyanto (Border Ladies) – 13 tests, 10 points (2 tries)
18. Monica Mazibukwana (EP Queens) – 3 tests
19. Lerato Makua (Blue Bulls Women) – 5 tests
20. Lusanda Dumke (Border Ladies) – 16 tests, 25 points (5 tries)
21. Unam Tose (Border Ladies) – 12 tests
22. Zenay Jordaan (EP Queens) – 34 tests, 98 points (13 tries, 12 conversions, 3 penalty goals)
23. Eloise Webb (Border Ladies) – 8 tests, 30 points (6 tries)
- Zenay Jordaan will become the most capped Springbok Test player of all time if she takes the field against Fiji.
- Jordaan (98) or Libbie Janse van Rensburg (96) could become the first Springbok Women player to score 100 points for their country.
- Zintle Mpupha (16) could extend her record as South Africa's leading try scorer in tests.