Springbok Women’s Sevens captain Zintle Mpupha says the team won’t just make up the numbers at their maiden appearance at the Cape Town Sevens this weekend.
The Women’s Sevens, also known as the Imbokodo, will be part of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series event on home soil for the first time ever.
While the team hopes to take in all the excitement, significance and passion of the tournament, Mpupha says they are also aiming to be serious competitors throughout the weekend.
‘We don’t just want to be “present”,’ Mphupha said. ‘We are really determined and hoping to compete.
‘Yes, it will be great to be part of it all, but we also want to add something to the tournament; we want to showcase what we can do and test ourselves against the best teams in the world.’
Mpupha said the squad realise the toughness of their Pool A draw. They will face New Zealand on Friday during the opening day and on Saturday meet Russia and Fiji. The New Zealanders are fresh from winning last weekend’s tournament in Dubai and are the Rugby World Cup Sevens champions.
‘We realise that they will be a massive challenge, but how else would you want to test yourself than against the best teams out there,’ said Mpupha.
‘The next level will be a steep one, but we want to play there and the sooner we know what that level is, the sooner we can get there.’
The team had some inspiration from none other than Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, who came to talk to them.
‘Siya told us not to worry about what other people might think or say, but to keep believing in what we want to achieve,’ she said.
‘He used the example of Faf de Klerk, who was crucified by all for his tactical kicking, but after the final was lauded by many as the best scrumhalf in the world.’
Mpupha says Kolisi’s words of wisdom helped a lot.
‘This is new to us being at home and we are all terribly excited and nervous. It is good to see how calm some of the players are, though, and that is encouraging for a captain to see,’ she concluded.