Having successfully cemented their status as Africa’s number one side when they won the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens in Monastir, Tunisia this past weekend, the Springbok Women’s Sevens team arrived back in the country on Tuesday.
The “Imbokodo” edged Kenya out 15-14 in the final, as a result claiming the continental showpiece with a clean sheet of victories against African foes, scoring 182 points in six matches and only conceding 14. Coach Paul Delport shares his thrill.
The “Imbokodo” beat Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia in pool play and then knocked out Morocco and Madagascar before beating Kenya in the final.
Delport says the African showpiece goes a long way in shaping women’s rugby and exposing local talents to the continent.
The next assignment for the Imbokodo will be the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens International Invitational tournament before they play in the first-ever Cape Town Sevens tournament for Women in December and Delport adds the victory will boost his side’s confidence ahead of those tournaments.
The success in Tunisia came with mixed emotions as it secured the team a ticket to the official qualifiers of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series next year, but also saw them denied a qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under dubious circumstances, as SASCOC will not let them take part in the games. Delport has pleaded with SASCOC to grant them their deserved spot.
Delport praised sensational forward Rights Mkhari whose hat-trick in the final was the difference.
This was not the first time the Limpopo born Mkhari was key for the team, having earlier this year helped the side book their place at the 15-a side Rugby World Cup to be played in New Zealand in 2021.
South Africa did not participate in the tournament last year but won the previous five tournaments (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017).
They coincidentally beat Kenya 17-12 in the final in 2017 also in Monastir. Veteran captain Zintle Mpupha says it is very rewarding for her side to arrive back home with the gold medals around their necks and they are now well prepared for future tournaments. – Report by Tumi Gabonamong