Catha Jacobs will lead the Springbok Women’s side in their friendly against England Under-20 on Sunday after coach Stanley Raubenheimer decided to hand 12 players their first start of the November tour for the match in London.
Blue Bulls Women’s scrumhalf Rumandi Potgieter and EP Queens prop Monica Mazibukwana are the only uncapped players included in the starting team, while all of Donelle Snyders, Bernice Strydom, Micke Gunter and Sanelisiwe Charlie will play for the first time on tour as Raubenheimer opted to use all the members of the squad, including Tanya Scholtz, who is set to run out in the Green and Gold as the only uncapped player on the bench.
Simamkele Namba, Jakkie Cilliers, Ayanda Malinga, Ziyanda Ngohlekana and Lerato Makua have seen action off the bench in the opening two matches of the tour – the Tests against France in Vannes and last weekend in Cardiff, where the Springbok Women took on Wales.
Chumisa Qawe and Sizo Solontsi are the only players who will start for a third week in a row, while Libbie Janse van Rensburg and Jacobs also earned Test caps against both France and Wales and will play in their third match on tour.
“When we secured the match against England’s U20s, we decided to give some of our younger players in the group the chance to show their worth and to gain some match experience on tour,” Raubenheimer explained.
“This match will be a valuable opportunity to stake a claim for future selections, which will of course include the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand last year.
“A couple of the players are coming back from injury, others have worked hard as non-playing squad members and there are those who have not played for this team in a while. They all now get the opportunity to play and show the coaching staff that they have what it takes to make the trip to New Zealand next year.”
Raubenheimer had a simple message to the new players – to go out and express themselves.
“Some of them have made it into this team because of their good performances in our provincial competitions, while others have played for us before, but got injured and are coming back into contention,” the coach said.
“I can tell all of them to just continue with the good things they have done in the past which gained them selection. It will be interesting to see how they cope with the higher intensity and less space and time at this level, but there is only one way to find out and that is by playing against quality opposition like we will this weekend.”
Jacobs, who came off the bench as a lock replacement in Vannes and at flank in Cardiff, said she will enjoy the extra time on the field and will take the captaincy in her stride.
“The team spirit has been developing nicely over the last couple of weeks as the players got to know each other better and started to bond, so from that perspective, the tour already proved to be a success,” said Jacobs.
“We are also learning a lot, each of our opponents offered a different style and Sunday the same will apply against England. We are learning to adapt to all the changes, and I think we are doing well in that regard.
“There are also enough experienced players in core positions to help me in the leadership department, so it will be an exciting time for all concerned.”
The match, which kicks off at 15:00 (SA time), will be live streamed on www.springboks.rugby.
Following the match, the Springbok Women’s next assignment will be against the Barbarian Women’s side at Twickenham on Saturday, 27 November.
Springbok Women to face England U20 in London:
15. Donelle Snyders (WP; 2 caps 0 points)
14. Simamkele Namba (WP; 1 cap, 0 points)
13. Jakkie Cilliers (Leopards; 2 caps, 13 points)
12. Chumisa Qawe (WP; 6 caps, 5 points)
11. Ayanda Malinga (Blue Bulls Women; 4 caps, 15 points)
10. Libbie Janse van Rensburg (Blue Bulls Women; 4 caps, 10 points)
9. Rumandi Potgieter (Blue Bulls Women, uncapped)
8. Sizo Solontsi (Sharks; 8 caps, 10 points)
7. Catha Jacobs (captain – Blue Bulls Women; 4 caps, 0 points)
6. Ziyanda Ngohlekana (SWD Eagirls; 2 caps, 0 points)
5. Lerato Makua (Blue Bulls Women, 1 cap, 0 points)
4. Bernice Strydom (Boland Dames; 3 caps, 0 points)
3. Monica Mazibukwana (EP Queens, uncapped)
2. Micke Gunter (Sharks, 1 cap, 0 points)
1. Sanelisiwe Charlie (EP Queens, 2 caps, 0 points)
16. Tanya Scholtz (Guernsey, uncapped)
17. Yonela Ngxingolo (Border Women; 12 caps, 5 points)
18. Amahle Nyoba (EP Queens; 1 cap; 0 points)
19. Rights Mkhari (Blue Bulls Women; 5 caps, 35 points)
20. Roseline Botes (WP, 2 caps; 0 points)
21. Unam Tose (Border Ladies; 5 caps, 0 points)
22. Nadine Roos (Boland Dames; 2 caps, 0 points)
23. Nomawethu Mabenge (EP Queens; 4 caps, 5 points)