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WXV Preview: Cape Town ready to host thrilling opening round

SPOTLIGHT: WXV is World Rugby’s new, three-level, elite women’s 15s rugby tournament that aims to supercharge the reach, competitiveness, and value of elite women’s rugby.

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The Springboks’ successful defence of the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup earlier this year secured their place in the competition’s second level, where they will host a six-team pool including Scotland, Japan, Italy, Samoa, and the USA.

While possessing home advantage, South Africa enter WXV2 as the second lowest-ranked team in their pool, only placing above Samoa in the World Rugby rankings.

But Latsha, the captain, is raring to go as she prepares to lead her nation into a game-changing tournament for women’s rugby – something made even more special by the fact it is being held on home soil.

She said: “We’re exceptionally proud and excited to be hosting the world to our shores.

“I think it’s a brilliant opportunity for South African women’s rugby and women’s rugby globally to be able to showcase our talents in such a broad platform.

“It’s quite an exciting prospect for me to lead my side in such a fantastic spectacle of women’s rugby. Leadership is something that’s close to my heart.

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“We want to represent our brand of rugby the best that we can with the hopes of inspiring the next generation of young South African women rugby players, and this is really fantastic for women’s rugby as a whole.”

WXV is giving fans more opportunities to see the best teams and the biggest names in women’s rugby compete on the global stage.

There is everything to play for as teams compete to secure promotion, avoid relegation for their regional positions and win points to climb the global rankings.

The Springboks will be further buoyed by the return of experienced quartet Tayla Kinsey, Aseza Hele, Lindelwa Gwala and Sanelisiwe Charlie for their WXV2 opener – all come back into the side having missed out on recent Tests against Kenya and Samoa due to injury or rehabilitation protocols.

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Koen has also named Shaunique Hess on the wing and Chuma Qawe at full-back in a reshuffled squad from the one that faced Samoa last weekend.

South Africa last came up against Scotland during a two-test series in 2019 – but were beaten in both contests to suffer a 2-0 series defeat.

Latsha, keen to build off the disappointment of four years ago, has insisted that Scotland will be facing a completely different Springboks side on Friday.

“It’s quite exciting to be playing Scotland again,” she added, with the Springboks Women having drawn 17-17 with Samoa in a warm-up match last weekend.

“We last played them in 2019. I think the Springbok Women have grown tremendously throughout that period, and we’ve had a good amount of preparation.

“Our game last weekend against Samoa was the last of our preparation. The stage is set and we’re really excited to pitch on the day against Scotland.”

Having made the 15-hour excursion to Stellenbosch, Scotland skipper Rachel Malcolm is fully aware of the threat the Springboks will pose to her team, with the Scots looking to build on a fourth-place finish in the Women’s Six Nations.

“South Africa are a team who are extremely physical,” Malcolm said.

“They have had a lot of games in the lead-up to this, so I think what’s important for us is to make sure that we’re game-ready and switched on from the first minute because we know that they are going to bring a lot of heat straight off bat.

“They are really an incredible team and it’s an honour to get to play them in their home country as well, so I’m sure it will be a very exciting match.”

WXV 2 Fixtures:

Friday, October 13

Italy v Japan
Venue: Danie Craven, Stellenbosch
Kick-off: 14.00 (12.00 GMT)

South Africa v Scotland
Venue: Danie Craven, Stellenbosch
Kick-off: 16.30 (14.30 GMT)

Saturday, October 14

USA v Samao
Venue: Danie Craven , Stellenbosch
Kick-off: 14.00 (12.00 GMT)

WXV 3 Fixtures:

Friday, October 13

Fiji v Colombia
Venue: The Sevens Stadium, Dubai
Kick-off: 17.00 (13.00 GMT)

Ireland v Kazakhstan
Venue: The Sevens Stadium, Dubai
Kick-off: 19.30 (15.30 GMT)

Saturday, October 14

Spain v Kenya
Venue: The Sevens Stadium, Dubai
Kick-off: 17.00 (13.00 GMT)

 

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