The pool matches are scheduled for 20h23 against Chile on Friday evening, 01h37 against Kenya on Saturday morning, and the final pool match takes place at 19h02 on Saturday evening, against China (all SA times). All matches will be live streamed on Sevens Challenger Series 2022 | World Rugby
Lategan, named captain for this trip to Chile, is adamant that they will be running towards the challenge and not away from it, and she sees this qualification tournament for a spot in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series as a huge opportunity.
“We made peace with the fact we had have four new players from the squad that played in the Commonwealth Games and even that squad had six debutants,” said Lategan.
“We rather see it as being in a privileged position to challenge ourselves and our opponents this weekend. We were given the opportunity to represent our country and to make a charge towards qualification, so we are not doing it for ourselves only, but for everyone back home and that is a massive motivation.
“We know what high standards we need to play at here. We have played Kenya in recent months and saw footage of China. We did not do analysis on Chile yet, but whatever they do, we must be able to adapt and adjust.”
Lategan joined the Springbok Women Sevens side in 2019 and was the very first player in green and gold to score a try when the Women's World Series came to the HSBC Cape Town Sevens in 2019. She also finished top scorer for her team at the Commonwealth Games last month – not surprising if one learns that her uncle is Pieter Hendriks, a former Bok try machine on the wing.
“We did identify attack as an area where we want to improve this weekend,” said Lategan.
“We have changed our defensive system a bit and everybody seems on board with that, so I am not too concerned about that aspect of our play.
“I would like to see us more effective on attack though. We try to keep the ball for longer, but the crucial part of that will be to use it effectively and score tries. That is what it is all about.”
She also welcomes the pressure of being a senior player in a younger team: “The new players and the younger ones do bring a lot of energy and that is a good thing.
“For the senior players, the pressure lies in making sure we set the tone and standard on the field. If we do that, they will follow and the final result will be a good one, I believe. It is expected of us to make that step-up and higher the standard, so it is good pressure,” she added.
Lategan took the captaincy in her stride, with Sizophila Solontsi currently playing for the Springbok Women and Asisipho Plaatjies, who was named captain for the Commonwealth Games, out injured.
“As one of the senior players I had the mindset of leading by example anyway, so this is not extra pressure, I think. In fact, I know the added responsibility will keep me sharp and in the game all the time,” said Lategan, adding that the team adapted well, although they had a nine-hour layover on their way to Chile.
“We have all have travelled abroad before, so we could cope with that. Santiago is very nice and the snow on the mountains reminds one of Cape Town a bit.”