Africa National women’s sevens teams are gearing up for the 2017 Africa Cup Sevens set for September 16 and 17 in Tunisia.
Kenya Lionesses, Lady Blitzboks, Uganda, Tunisia, Senegal, Madagascar, Namibia and Zimbabwe will take part.
The winner will gain automatic entry into the 2018 Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens.
Springbok Women’s Sevens captain Veroeshka Grain told blitzbokke.com that the players are cautiously excited for the Rugby Africa Sevens and that they will focus all their energy on winning the tournament.
Grain and her charges will depart for Tunisia on Wednesday, 13 September.
“This is an important tournament for us, so there will naturally be nerves, but we are also very excited about the challenge,” said Grain.
“We are going to Tunisia with one goal in mind and that is to win the tournament, and we intend to focus all our energy on achieving that.
“That said, we know we have to be at our best to achieve this, as Kenya have been tough opponents in the last few years and Tunisia will want to make the most of their home ground advantage, while a number of other sides have shown a steady improvement in the quality of their rugby in the last few seasons as well.”
The Bok Women’s Sevens have an impressive track record in the Rugby Africa Sevens, as they won back-to-back titles from 2013 to 2016, after being crowned the champions in 2011 and from 2006 to 2008.
“We have won the Rugby Africa Sevens in each of the tournaments that I have participated in, and that is a record that I would like to keep intact,” said Grain.
“But with a Rugby World Cup Sevens place at stake this year, it makes it even more important for us to win.
“Obviously what happened in the past will have no significance when we take to the field, and all the participating teams will have the same goal in mind, so it is important that we focus on our structures, take each game in our stride and ensure that we do our best in every match.
“Our preparation has been good, especially with the training camp in Potchefstroom where we were exposed to hot conditions during the day – which is exactly what we will get in Tunisia – and the game time thanks to the two matches that we played. And hopefully, that will set us in good stead going into the tournament.”
Sixteen will teams play at the women's World Cup Sevens. Four teams automatically qualified by reaching the semifinals at the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens. Additionally, the top four teams not already qualified from the 2016-17 Women's World Sevens Series also qualified. The remaining eight places will be filled via continental qualifiers.