The Springbok Women successfully defended their title at the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup, which was held in Madagascar over three rounds between 20-28 May 2023. The Springbok Women were unbeaten over the course of the competition, racking up some serious scores against their opponents Cameroon (87-0), Kenya (48-0), and Madagascar (79-8).
Admittedly, this may not be the fiercest competition they could face, but a tournament such as this is essential in terms of game time, testing the implementation of playing structures, and affording new players the opportunity to make their debuts. Regardless of the opponents faced, it remains impressive to score 214 points in three games, while only conceding 8.
More importantly, their retention of the title secures their place in the WXV 2 tournament, taking place in Cape Town in October this year. WXV is a new tournament, recently launched by World Rugby in their efforts to grow the women’s game. The contest will be made up of 18 teams across three tiers. Thus far, the second tier, WXV 2, will be contended by South Africa, Scotland, and Japan. These teams will be joined by either Spain or Italy, and whichever teams finish fourth in the World Rugby Pacific Four Series 2023 and first in the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship 2023. Kenya secured their place in the third tier of the contest, WXV 3, by coming second in the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup, and will compete against Ireland, Kazakhstan, either Spain or Italy, and one each from Oceania and South America.
The Springbok Women’s successful campaign in Africa comes on the heels of an earlier two-match tour against Canada and Spain, which saw them lose to Canada but win against Spain. Former Springbok fly-half Louis Koen, who took the helm as interim coach in March shortly before that tour, seems pleased by the progress the team is making after a milestone 2022. There is certainly plenty to be excited about for the Springbok Women and their supporters, as we look ahead to the inaugural WXV competition, and the team continues to play with joy and commitment.
Image: Nomawethu Mabenge, courtesy of Springbok Women