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SA Women’s Coach Koen’s Bal...

SA Women’s Coach Koen’s Balancing Act to Mix Returnees and Young Run-Ons 

South Africa’s Women’s team


If there is consistent logic in sport and their results, one would predict that the South African Women’s team would easily win the quadrangular competition for the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup 2024, kicking off on Saturday, May 4 in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

But sport is not known for consistency and predictability – and the Springbok women, in their approach to the match, will heed what has been drilled into them: do the little things right, forget the greater picture.

That adage will start with their first match on Saturday, against Cameroon, for which Springbok’s coach Louis Koen has selected an experienced core and some less experienced players for the kick-off to their Africa Cup challenge.

Koen fields the bulk of the players who played in the Boks’ last test, against the USA at the end of March, for the kick-off match of the Africa Cup. The Springboks beat Cameroon 87-0 in last year’s opening match in Madagascar.

  • No. 8 Sizophila Solontsi (18 caps) and wing Nomawethu Mabenge (16 caps) are back in the side after injury, and there are two first run-on appearances in flanker Samatha Els and tighthead Aliyah Tchogna-Njamen.

Lock Nomsa Mokwai gets a first start since 2019.

A win seems like a given but the South Africans have their challenges to fulfil. In particular, the Bok’s women will want to prove that there has been growth in the die side after the recent European tour.

Victory in this tournament would qualify the winner for the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup in England. South Africa made their debut at the 2006 Women’s Rugby World Cup, and they have participated every year since. With this crop of experienced players and newcomers to international rugby, the team is keen and determined to follow up on that with a solid foundation in Antananarivo over the next ten days.

And as part of his building process, Koen has indicated that he wants to select teams that are as fresh as possible for each of the three matches. That will ensure a strong side for each match.

The SA Women’s team for Saturday, with the number of caps and their clubs:

Springbok Women’s team to face Cameroon:


  1. Chuma Qawe (Sanlam Boland Dames) – 9 Tests, 0 points
  2. Nomawethu Mabenge (Sanlam Boland Dames) – 16 Tests, 65 points (13 tries)
  3. Veroeshka Grain (Sanlam Boland Dames) – 19 Tests, 35 points (7 tries)
  4. Piwokuhle Nyanda (Golden Lions Women) – 10 Tests, 0 points
  5. Maceala Samboya (Sanlam Boland Dames) – 3 Tests, 5 points (1 try)
  6. Mary Zulu (Sharks Women) – 8 Tests, 4 points (2 conversions)
  7. Rumandi Potgieter (Bulls Daisies) – 15 Tests, 0 points
  8. Sizophila Solontsi (Bulls Daisies) – 18 Tests, 40 points (8 tries)
  9. Samantha Els (unattached) – 1 Test, 0 points
  10. Nompumelelo Mathe (Sanlam Boland Dames) – 17 Tests, 25 points (5 tries)
  11. Nomsa Mokwai (DHL Western Province) – 5 Tests, 0 points
  12. Nolusindiso Booi (captain, DHL Western Province) – 42 Tests, 5 points (1 try)
  13. Aliyah Tchogna-Njamen (Golden Lions Women) – 2 Tests, 0 points
  14. Lindelwa Gwala (Ealing Trailfinders Women) – 29 Tests, 35 points (7 tries)
  15. Sanelisiwe Charlie (Bulls Daisies) – 16 Tests, 5 points (1 try)



  1. Roseline Botes (DHL Western Province) – 17 Tests, 40 points (8 tries)
  2. Xoliswa Khuzwayo (Golden Lions Women) – 2 Tests, 0 points
  3. Azisa Mkiva (DHL Western Province) – 6 Tests, 0 points
  4. Vainah Ubisi (Bulls Daisies) – 11 Tests, 0 points
  5. Lusanda Dumke (Bulls Daisies) – 28 Tests, 35 points (7 tries)
  6. Tayla Kinsey (Sharks Women) – 32 Tests, 48 points (2 tries, 16 conversions, 2 penalty goals)
  7. Aphiwe Ngwevu (Border Ladies) – 18 Tests, 35 points (7 tries)
  8. Byrhandrè Dolf (Bulls Daisies) – 11 Tests, 15 points (3 tries)


 The Match Particulars –


South Africa v Cameroon

Date: Saturday, 4 May 2024

Venue: Stade Maki, Antananarivo

Kick-off: 12h00 (SA time)

Referee: Julie Randriarimanana