The Springbok Women’s Sevens have been drawn in Pool C with Colombia, Papua New Guinea, and Italy in the pool stages of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifier in Hong Kong next month.
The pool stages of the tournament will be hosted at the So Kon Po Recreation Ground on Thursday, 6 April, and Friday, 7 April, respectively, while the Cup semi-finals and final will be played on Saturday, 8 April at the Hong Kong Stadium, where the seventh leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series takes place.
The team that wins the Qualifier will secure a place on the 2017/18 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – a feat Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel and his team have been working towards since playing on the circuit as a core team in the 2014/15 season.
Japan, China and the Netherlands, who have all previously played on the Women’s World Series, will battle it out in Pool A with Jamaica, while Pool B features Argentina, Kenya, Belgium and hosts Hong Kong.
“The Qualifier will pose a few new challenges, the main one being that we don't have footage of Columbia and Italy, so we won’t be able to do our usual analysis on them,” said Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel said on his team’s return from the Vancouver Rugby Festival on Wednesday.
“In fact, we have never faced Columbia, so this will be a first for us. We played against Italy in Rome last year and won quite convincingly, but given the high stakes in Hong Kong, they will challenge us.
“Our last game against Papua New Guinea, meanwhile, was three years ago, and we struggled a little in that game, although we came out on top. So we will have our work cut out for us in the tournament.”
Dazel, however, said their focus going into the tournament would be on their game, rather than on trying to identify the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses.
“Topping our pool is one of our goals,” said Dazel.
“But we plan to take in each match in our stride. I believe if we stick to our game plan and trust in the systems, the results will follow. Every single tournament in Sevens rugby is tough, so we know we need to be in top form to advance to the final and keep alive hopes of qualifying as a core team next season.”