South Africa will face Scotland, Italy and Samoa in an intercontinental festival of women’s rugby, which will also feature the national teams of Japan and the United States of America.
Koen named a squad laden with international experience, with outside back Maceala Samboya the only player yet to earn a Test cap for South Africa.
The team will miss a few regulars though, as injuries took a toll in the squad’s lead-up to the tournament. Lerato Makua and Sinelitha Noxeke were ruled out following scans after being part of the warm-up schedule which involved a Test against Kenya and friendlies against the Mastercard Golden Lions Women, San Clemente Rhinos and the Barbarians, which were all played in the last two weeks.
Chumisa Qawe, Nomawethu Mabenge, Asiphe Mayaba, Aphiwe Ngwevu, Azisa Mkiva and Sizophila Solontsi, who were all involved in the national set-up this season, were already ruled out for the remainder of the year after they were injured in the domestic Women’s Premier Division.
Babalwa Latsha will lead the team, with Nolusindiso Booi and Libbie Janse van Rensburg named as vice-captains.
Koen said the reality of the WXV tournament – that will start with three matches at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch before moving to Athlone Stadium in Cape Town for the final six test matches of the event – is hitting home.
“We have planned and prepared since we qualified to play in this tournament in Madagascar earlier this year,” said Koen.
“We have lost some players along the way, but that again presented opportunities to others, such as Maceala Samboya, who showed her ability in the matches against the Rhinos and Barbarians last week. We are now two weeks away from the first match against Scotland and it will be a big challenge.”
The Springbok Women will play in a final warm-up Test against Samoa in Hermanus next Saturday, but their WXV mindset will kick into motion when the 30 players assemble in Cape Town on Sunday.
“This is such a huge platform for us, we will be playing four Test matches on consecutive weekends at home against teams that have all the experience in the world and will test us to our fullest,” added Koen.
“This Springbok Women squad will be playing for recognition and respect, but also to inspire young girls to start playing the game South Africans hold so dear. The WXV is knocking, and we will open the door aware of what this can do to the profile of our game. We are determined not to waste this opportunity.”
Springbok Women squad for WXV 2:
Byrhandrè Dolf (Bulls Daisies) – 6 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Mary Zulu (Sharks Women) – 4 caps, 2 points (1 conversion)
Chuma Qawe (DHL Western Province) - 4 caps, 0 points
Veroeshka Grain (DHL Western Province) – 13 caps, 30 points (6 tries)
Unathi Mali (Bulls Daisies) – 1 cap, 5 points (1 try)
Maceala Samboya (Boland Dames) – uncapped
Jakkie Cilliers (Bulls Daisies) – 9 caps, 26 points (2 tries, 5 conversions, 2 penalty goals)
Piwokuhle Nyanda (Mastercard Golden Lions Women) – 4 caps, 0 points
Shaunique Hess (DHL Western Province) - 2 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Libbie Janse van Rensburg (vice-captain, Bulls Daisies) – 16 caps, 159 points (7 tries, 47 conversions, 9 penalty goals, 1 drop goal)
Rumandi Potgieter (Bulls Daisies) – 8 caps, 0 points
Unam Tose (Bulls Daisies) – 17 caps, 0 points
Tayla Kinsey (Sharks Women) - 28 caps, 48 points (2 tries, 16 conversions, 2 penalty goals)
Aseza Hele (Harlequins Women) - 18 caps, 30 points (6 tries)
Lusanda Dumke (Bulls Daisies) – 24 caps, 30 points (6 tries)
Catha Jacobs (Leicester Tigers Women) – 11 caps, 0 points
Nompumelelo Mathe (Sharks Women) – 15 caps, 25 points (5 tries)
Danelle Lochner (DHL Western Province) – 6 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Vainah Ubisi (Bulls Daisies) – 5 caps, 0 points
Sinazo Mcatshulwa (DHL Western Province) – 23 caps, 45 points (9 tries)
Nolusindiso Booi (vice-captain, DHL Western Province) – 36 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Babalwa Latsha (captain, Harlequins Women) – 23 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
Amber Schonert (Sale Sharks Women) – 3 caps, 0 points
Yonela Ngxingolo (Bulls Daisies) – 24 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Asithandile Ntoyanto (Bulls Daisies) – 18 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
Sanelisiwe Charlie (EP Queens) - 10 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Roseline Botes (DHL Western Province) – 12 caps, 40 points (8 tries)
Micke Gunter (Bulls Daisies) – 5 caps, 0 points
Lucell Hanekom (DHL Western Province) - 1 cap, 0 points
Lindelwa Gwala (Ealing Trailfinders Women) - 25 caps, 25 points (5 tries)