The Springbok Women’s prop – who made history in January by becoming the first South African women’s XV-a-side player to sign a professional contract – joined Spanish club SD Eibar Femenino in January on a three-month deal, which was set to run until the end of their season in April, but she was forced to return home earlier this week as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now in self quarantine at home.
With her team having qualified for the semi-final of their national club competition, however, she may return to Spain to wrap up the season in the next few months.
Less than a week into her quarantine, Latsha remains committed to maintaining her fitness and conditioning, and between eating healthily and following a home fitness programme, she admits she has had to be creative with weight training.
“I am following a bodyweight workout, but I have also been doing a few interesting things on my own, such as lifting couches as leg presses and using my younger sister, Litha, who weighs 65kg, as a weight for my squats,” said Latsha.
“I also ensure that I follow a strict and nutritious diet, which is vital because I need to be in a position to be ready to play at any time in case I get the call in the foreseeable future.
🦠 COVID-19 Diaries Part 6— Springbok Women (@WomenBoks) March 26, 2020
💪 Training at home during lockdown - no problem
👀 Use family members as weights
🔗 https://t.co/fa3J1ZFlhB#StrongerTogether @BabalwaLatsha @Springboks pic.twitter.com/xndrKRRq4c
“My team qualified for the semi-final of our club competition, and if the decision is made to play if the current situation was to change, I will go back to Spain.
“My Springbok Women’s team-mates and I are also training for the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup, which is scheduled to take place between May and July, so it is important to stay fit and focused in this challenging time.”
Latsha spoke fondly of her experience in Spain, saying: “It has been incredible. It was fantastic to interact with people from a completely different culture and world, and to make new friends.
“I certainly discovered that rugby is a universal language, and that made it much easier for me in terms of the language barrier. I learned a little of bit of Spanish, mainly greeting and general conversational terms and some rugby terms, but the experience as a whole was life changing.”
Latsha admits that with the effects of COVID-19 spreading steadily across Spain shortly before her departure to South Africa, it was a trying experience to ensure that she gets home.
“It was pretty scary because the country actually resorted to a lockdown at a point and officials patrolled the streets to ensure that no-one leaves their homes, so it is great to be back here with my family,” said Latsha.
While it remains unclear whether she will return to Spain for now, Latsha says there are a few things she will miss about the country if her club championship were to be decided on log points.
“I think I will miss the seafood – the prawns are gigantic and delicious, and I particularly like the way they are flavored and prepared,” she said.
“The one thing I won’t miss though is the cold weather,” she said with a chuckle. “It is fantastic to be back in the warm weather in SA.”