Kemisetso Baloyi and Byrhandrè Dolf will replace the injured Zintle Mpupha and Libbie Janse van Rensburg for this weekend’s HSBC SVNS Cape Town tournament, which will see Dolf making her debut for the national sevens squad.
The Bulls Daisies player will come in at flyhalf in place of Janse van Rensburg, her provincial and Springbok Women teammate, while Baloyi, who made her debut in last year’s home event, will take over from Mpupha amongst the forwards.
Renfred Dazel, Springbok Women’s Sevens head coach, said it was almost like a case of déjà vu for him.
“Last year, we lost three players in the Dubai tournament and had to make replacements, so it is almost the same this year,” said Dazel.
“The big difference this time is that we have been together as a group for a couple of months now and that will soften the blow of losing two experienced campiagners in Libbie and Zintle.”
Dazel said the inclusion of Dolf, who played nine Tests for the Springbok Women in 2023, is strategic.
“We have a bit of a problem with flyhalves being injured and although Byrhandrè has not played sevens at this level before, I am confident that she will do well,” he said.
“She had a wonderful season with the XVs team and we will manage her workload to make sure she has the impact we are expecting.”
Dazel said the challenge to repeat last weekend’s performances in Dubai is real: “From a physical point of view we adjusted our work load and training programme accordingly.
“From a mental point of view, it will be easier. We spoke about our goals for the season and nothing changed in that regard, so that will still be a huge motivation. And enough reason for the team to pitch up again.”
For Baloyi, the return to Cape Town Stadium will be exciting. She formed part of the Springbok Women’s Sevens ‘A’ side that played in the International Invitatoinal tournament in Dubai and said that did wonders.
“It was great to give the wider group a chance to play in that tournament as it kept us sharp and gave us an idea of the level we are at,” said Baloyi.
“For me, it turned out great, because I played at a high level last weekend, so I can slot with ease.”
The ‘A’ side lost to Poland in the Plate final in Dubai, but Baloyi said she watched all the pool games the Bok Women played: “It also helped that I could physically watch the teams play, as that gave me a real sense of the tempo and intensity that I will encounter this weekend.”
Baloyi said she hopes to help the team to deliver another solid performance in Cape Town.
“It is not about me and my personal goals, but rather what I can do in the system and do what is expected of me by the coaches. It is never nice to replace an injured teammate, but my job will be to focus on the work that is expected of me.”
Springbok Women’s Sevens fixtures – Saturday (updated):
Springbok Women’s squad for HSBC SVNS Cape Town:
Forwards: 1. Rights Mkhari (co-captain); 2. Asisipho Plaatjies; 14. Simamkele Namba; 20. Kyla de Vries; 13. Kemisetso Baloyi; 12. Liske Lategan; 18. Shiniqwa Lamprecht
Backs: 9. Nadine Roos; 10. Mathrin Simmers (co-captain); 21. Byrhandrè Dolf; 16. Maria Tshiremba; 5. Marlize de Bruin; 3. Ayanda Malinga