The Springbok Women’s Sevens rugby journey in 2022 makes a brief stop at the HSBC France Sevens in Toulouse this weekend, but for team captain, Sizophila Solontsi, it will be an important stop in their ultimate season.
South Africa will play as one of the invitational teams at this event (alongside Scotland) against the top 10 teams in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, and come 10h36 on Friday morning, they will face the best of them all in Australia, who have already won this year’s World Series, with one tournament left. Then, at 17h44, they will face USA, who are currently third on the standings.
Yet, says Solontsi, there is no fear or trepidation for the kick-off in Stade Ernest-Wallon, as their journey for the year was expected to be one of bumps of bruises.
“We have five tournaments this year after not having played for almost two years, so it was great to be back in action,” said Solontsi.
“One of them is done already with the desired results. The win in Tunisia not only re-established us as the top team in Africa, it also gave us entry into the Commonwealth Games, which will be the next big one for us after France. Then of course, the World Series qualifiers and the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town.
“Each of these tournaments will be treated differently. This is our second leg of five and we want to grow in each of them and working towards the future of this team.”
The here and now for Solontsi on Wednesday was at the official captain’s photo opportunity, where the realities of kick-off kicked in for the captain: “This is when you know the tournament is real close. It was good to see all the other captains here, knowing that soon we will all be playing our hearts out for our countries.
“Our main focus, especially since we are playing the world’s best teams here, will be to look at ourselves and what we need to do to achieve out outcomes in the game. We have structures in place to play to our strengths and we need to implement those well if we want to have a say in the final result.”
The women’s pools in Toulouse:
A: Australia, USA, Fiji, South Africa
B: New Zealand, Canada, Spain, Scotland
C: Ireland, France, Brazil, England