Springbok Women’s Sevens player Catha Jacobs says it is a dream come true to be playing in her first World Series match at the Cape Town Sevens this weekend. DYLAN JACK reports.
Jacobs will be one of six players on World Series debut when the Women’s Sevens team make their very first appearance at the Cape Town Sevens.
It has been an incredible journey for the 21-year-old, who just last year was part of the rowing team for the University of Johannesburg. As she explained, her big break came in March when she was asked to help out at a sevens tournament in Johannesburg.
‘I studied at UJ and during my studies, I was part of their rowing team,’ Jacobs said. ‘They needed girls for a rugby tournament that Saturday. So I got asked because I stayed in the same residence as some of the players. I grew up with three brothers. We used to play a bit of touch in the garden, but nothing serious, so I thought I should give it a go.
‘We found out that morning that we were playing against the national team. So that was quite nerve-racking. But I went and played. I can’t remember exactly what I did in that game. I think I got the ball and ran around.
‘After the game, I chatted with Paul Delport and he asked me things like how long I have been playing rugby for. I told him that I was a rower and he invited me out to the camp over here. If it wasn’t for Paul Delport, I wouldn’t be here. He gave me that opportunity, believed in me and invested in me. I am really grateful for that opportunity.’
Jacobs’ first experience with the national team came in a friendly against Brazil. While she found adjusting to the set-up tough, she said she has settled in well over the past few months.
‘Brazil was on a tour to South Africa and played a few chukkas against them. That was full-on contact rugby, so that was a bit rough. But the girls made me feel right at home. I have really grown to love the game and the people here. I was very nervous in that first game. Looking back, I can’t really remember what exactly I did, it was all on instinct. But it was still very fun.
‘Training over here is very different from what I am used to. We do short sessions at a very high intensity. I am used to it now, but it was quite difficult to adjust in the beginning.’
Jacobs adds that she cannot wait to make her first run-out at the Cape Town Stadium in front of a massive crowd on Friday.
‘I can’t even start to believe it,’ Jacobs said. ‘It is honestly a dream coming true. I am getting goosebumps just thinking about it. I am nervous and I am definitely going to be nervous on the day. But it is my first big tournament and playing in front of the home crowd is going to be unbelievable.’
The Women’s Sevens team, also known as the Imbokodo, will start their campaign against New Zealand on Friday at 3.50pm, before facing Russia and Fiji on day two of the tournament on Saturday.
— HSBC Cape Town 7s (@CapeTown7s) December 8, 2019
Photo: EJ Langer/Gallo Images