Springbok Women's coach Lawrence Sephaka has been forced to reshuffle his starting XV after his captain Mandisa Williams was suspended for 16 weeks.
Williams' suspension comes after she appeared before a disciplinary commitee for allegedly throwing a punch and making contact with an Australian player's eye. She was deemed to have contravened law 10.4 (m) and 10.4 (a) which states that a player should not strike an opponent nor act contrary to good sportsmanship.
Although team management confirmed they will appeal the verdict, Sephaka has selected Shona-Leah Weston to replace Williams at No 8. Flank Lamla Momoti has recovered from a knee injury to take her place at the side of the scrum. The only other change to the forward pack sees loosehead prop Asithandile Ntoyanto dropping to the bench to accomodate Portia Jonga.
In the backline, fullback Siviwe Basweni and scrumhalf Fundiswa Plaatjie were elevated to the starting XV, with Cindy Cant and Tayla Kinsey missing out.
Flyhalf Zenay Jordaan will captain the team in the absence of Williams.
'We have retained most of the key player combinations, so I don’t think this would disrupt our momentum,' said Sephaka. 'We are also fortunate that in the positions where we have made changes, the combinations are settled as these players played together on the warm-up tour to London and France.'
Springbok Women – 15 Siviwe Basweni, 14 Veroeshka Grain, 13 Benele Makwezela, 12 Lorinda Brown, 11 Phumeza Gadu, 10 Zenay Jordaan, 9 Fundiswa Plaatjie, 8 Shona-Leah Weston, 7 Vuyolwethu Vazi, 6 Lamla Momoti, 5 Nolusindiso Booi, 4 Celeste Adonis, 3 – Cebisa Kula, 2 Denita Wentzel, 1 Portia Jonga.
Subs: 16 Nwabisa Ngxatu, 17 Asithandile Ntoyanto, 18 Rachelle Geldenhuys, 19 Andrea Mentoor, 20 Tayla Kinsey, 21 Zandile Nojoko, 22 Cindy Cant.
Photo: Harry Engels/Getty Images