The Springbok Women will defend their Rugby Africa Women’s Cup title starting in May, with the tournament to feature a historic first Test match in Madagascar.
The 2020 Rugby Africa Women’s Cup will mark the second edition of the tournament and the Bok Women are to play three matches – against Uganda on May 30 in Pretoria; Madagascar on June 28 in Antananarivo; and Kenya on July 3 in Cape Town.
Match venues are still to be announced.
Kenya, Madagascar and Uganda will meet in the other three matches, with the team with the most log points at the end of the series named the champions.
“The announcement that the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup will be hosted again this year is fantastic news for the Springbok Women and for the advancement of the women’s game in Africa in general.”says SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux, who is also Rugby Africa’s secretary-general.
“The growth and improvement of women’s rugby is one of our top priorities at SA Rugby, and the fact that World Rugby and Rugby Africa have also placed women’s rugby high on their agenda will bode well for the development of the sport worldwide.”
The Springbok Women won the inaugural Cup in Brakpan in 2019 – which doubled as the 2021 Rugby World Cup qualifier.
They convincingly won all three matches to book their place in the international spectacle in New Zealand in 2021.
Matches staggered throughout the year
The competition format differs this season with matches staggered over a longer period across a handful of venues in each of the participating countries. This is to support Rugby Africa’s objective to host the women’s events concurrently with the men’s.
Some of the matches in the other countries will be curtain-raisers to the men’s games.
Springbok Women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer says the team is excited to take part in the Africa Women’s Cup again.
She grew up in one of South Africa’s poorest areas and went on to became one of the first women offered a full-time professional rugby contract.— CBC Sports (@cbcsports) March 11, 2020
Hear Zenay Jordaan’s incredible story, in her own words: https://t.co/jUwWRO5BlJ @WomenBoks pic.twitter.com/KdKEth26dd
“Playing our first Test in Madagascar is also thrilling and I believe it will be a fantastic experience for the players.”
Raubenheimer says every Test match they play will help them prepare for the Rugby World Cup.
“We are determined to improve the standard of our rugby looking ahead to the World Cup, and every match we play and training camp we host will be vital in achieving this,” he says.
Improving their fitness, skills and understanding of their game plan are all priorities.
“Essentially, the more time we spend together, the better it will be for the team because that is critical to any side’s success.”Stanley Raubenheimer
Raubenheimer says they are trying to arrange more Test matches for the team later this season.
The Springbok Women’s Rugby Africa Women’s Cup fixtures are:
Saturday May 30 – Springbok Women v Uganda, Pretoria;
Sunday June 28 – Madagascar v Springbok Women, Antananarivo, Madagascar; and Friday July 3– Springbok Women v Kenya, Cape Town.