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Rugby Africa Women’s Cup: S...

Rugby Africa Women’s Cup: SA Coach Koen Picks Experienced, Forward Dominated Team for Final Match

Despite two runaway wins in their only two meetings to date, the South African coach Louis Koen has selected a very experienced Springbok team to play Madagascar in the final match of the 2024 Rugby Africa Women’s Cup on Sunday, May 12. Kicking off at 15:00 (East Africa time) local time, Koen made no bones about it: Madagascar will present the Springboks the toughest challenge yet in the third round at the 2024 tournament. With a large crowd expected, anticipation is high.

Springboks coach Koen revealed, “We have a great leadership group with some players who have been to World Cups before. We bank very much on this leadership group to keep the girls focused on the task. We haven’t achieved anything yet, and there’s a great challenge against us on Sunday. It’s good to have been here last year, we know what to expect and of the atmosphere at the field. But we have to do our job and do it well. We will focus on our game and our processes.”
“We hope we can inspire young players with our play. We also realize that we have to live up to expectations and we treat that with the utmost respect,” added Koen shortly after announcing his team for the crunch match against Madagascar.

Springbok captain, Nolusindiso Booi, added “We are very excited, ready and prepared, but we will just be focusing on ourselves.”
“We know they will come hard at us, will do their quick taps … and we are prepared – our main focus is on ourselves,” she emphasized.

The undeniable honor of being the champions across Africa will be of secondary importance for both teams as Sunday’s winner will solidify their spot in the 2025 Women’s World Cup in England.
Koen has opted for a very experienced side. Seven players of Sunday’s starting pack played for the Springboks in the previous 2021 World Cup in New Zealand.

And to that point, two of the three vastly experienced players recalled to the starting side are in the front row, i.e. loosehead Sanelisiwe Charlie (28 tests) and hooker Lindelwa Gwala (31), who both started in the first outing in the 2021 Women’s World Cup. Azisa Mkiva, who has played close on two full matches in this tournament, will be on the tighthead in her ninth test.

Koen has also looked to pick experience in the backline where right-wing Veroeshka Grain is back in the side and will play in her 21st test. But the backline experience doesn’t end there.  Impressive centres Jakkie Cilliers (12 caps,) and Aphiwe Ngwevu (20) will rely on good options from scrumhalf Tayla Kinsey (34 tests) and Mary Zulu (10).
To offset the impressive experience that the Springboks will field, there is one selection, not altogether a surprise, on the wing where Sikholiwe Mdletshe scored two tries on her debut against Cameroon on Wednesday. Mdletshe is the only backline starter with less than 10 caps.
Back to the pack: The three loose forwards, No. 8 Sizophila Solontsi (20), and flankers  Sinazo Mcatshulwa (30) and Lusanda Dumke (30), have the experience of 80 tests between them, and  Springboks captain, No 4 lock Nolusindiso Booi will be playing in a South Africa record 45th test on Sunday.
Koen has again opted for six forwards and only two backs on the bench – a clear indication of where the team’s focus will be!
• Koen said the victories over Cameroon and Kenya provided some momentum and confidence, but he feels that Madagascar will provide their toughest challenge yet.
The match is scheduled to kick off at 15:00 (East Africa time) local time 14:00 (SA time) on Sunday, May 12. The tournament will be available for free live stream and broadcast on the platforms below:


RugbyPass TV:


Rugby Africa YouTube:

Rugby Africa Facebook:



SuperSport Linear: Channel 244

The Springbok Women’s team to face Madagascar (published by SA Rugby)

  1. Byrhandrè Dolf (Bulls Daisies)
    14. Veroeshka Grain (Sanlam Boland Dames)
    13. Jakkie Cilliers (Bulls Daisies)
    12. Aphiwe Ngwevu (Border Ladies)
    11. Sikholiwe Mdletshe (Free State Women)
    10. Mary Zulu (Sharks Women) )
    9. Tayla Kinsey (Sharks Women)
    8. Sizophila Solontsi (Bulls Daisies) )
    7. Sinazo Mcatshulwa (DHL Western Province)
    6. Lusanda Dumke (Bulls Daisies)
    5. Vainah Ubisi (Bulls Daisies)
    4. Nolusindiso Booi (captain, DHL Western Province)
    3. Azisa Mkiva (DHL Western Province)
    2. Lindelwa Gwala (Ealing Trailfinders Women)
    1. Sanelisiwe Charlie (Bulls Daisies)
    16. Amber Schonert (Sale Sharks Women)
    17. Xoliswa Khuzwayo (Golden Lions Women)
    18. Asithandile Ntoyanto (Bulls Daisies)
    19. Nomsa Mokwai (DHL Western Province)
    20. Nompumelelo Mathe (Sanlam Boland Dames)
    21. Anathi Qolo (Bulls Daisies)
    22. Rumandi Potgieter (Bulls Daisies) s
    23. Chuma Qawe (Sanlam Boland Dames)