The second tier WXV2 tournament will take place in the Cape Town Metropole in the second half of October, with South Africa taking on their counterparts from Scotland, Italy, Japan, Samoa and the USA.

Koen recalled the bulk of the squad who won the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup in Madagascar in May. However, Zintle Mpupha, Rights Mkhari and Simamkele Namba, as well as Japan-based Springbok Women’s Player of the Year, Nadine Roos will not be in Stellenbosch as they will focus on Springbok Women’s Sevens commitments and possible Olympic Games qualification later in the season. The wider sevens training group will be named next week.

The seven uncapped players are Machaela Samboya, Yola Lumko (both Boland Dames), Nombuyekezo Mdliki, Yandisa Nobanda (both Border Ladies), Xoliswa Khuzwayo (Mastercard Golden Lions Women), Sinelitha Noxeke (Bulls Daisies) and Kimberley Karassellos (DHL WP), all of whom attracted Koen’s attention with commanding performances in the Women’s Premier Division.

Two players who were part of the Rugby World Cup 2022 squad, Micke Gunter and Chuma Qawe, also return to the national set-up for the first time this year. Veroeshka Grain has been recalled for the first time since 2021, while Unathi Mali last played international rugby at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens in December last year.

Koen said the new players all deserved a call-up as the provincial competition remains an important part of the national feeder system, while it’s also important to build depth in the national squad.

“They showed in the first 10 weekends of the Premier Division that they have a skill set that can be beneficial to the national team, and this camp is a first assessment of that at a higher level,” said Koen.

“It will be good to see first-hand how they do in the variety of sessions planned for the group. We are well aware of the demands on our top players and the fact that we will be without a few key players, but there is clear consensus in our women’s programme between myself, Renfred Dazel (Springbok Women’s Sevens head coach), the players and HP manager Lynne Cantwell on when and where the players will be utilized best.”

Koen said the completion of the WXV 2 line-up has created excitement in the Bok camp: “We are awaiting the draw, but we will have a massive challenge in October, as four of the participating teams are ranked above us. That will help the focus at this camp, as we have a lot of catch-up to do.”

Springbok Women’s training group: Machaela Samboya*, Aseza Hele, Yola Lumko* (Boland Dames), Mary Zulu, Tayla Kinsey, Nompumelelo Mathe (Cell C Sharks Women), Sanelisiwe Charlie, Nomawethu Mabenge (EP Queens), Aphiwe Ngwevu, Nombuyekezo Mdliki*, Yandisa Nobanda* (Border Ladies), Xoliswa Khuzwayo* (Mastercard Golden Lions Women), Lerato Makua, Libbie Janse van Rensburg, Unam Tose, Rumandi Potgieter, Jakkie Cilliers, Micke Gunter, Lusanda Dumke, Yonela Ngxingolo, Byrhandrè Dolf, Vainah Ubisi, Sinelitha Noxeke*, Sizophila Solontsi, Unathi Mali, Asithandile Ntoyanto (all Bulls Daisies), Nolusindiso Booi, Azisa Mkiva, Chumisa Qawe, Sinazo Mcatshulwa, Veroeshka Grain, Roseline Botes, Asiphe Mayaba, Luchell Hanekom, Danelle Lochner, Kimberley Karassellos*, Chuma Qawe (all DHL Western Province), Catha Jacobs (Leicester, England), Babalwa Latsha (Harlequins, England).
* denotes uncapped