South Africa bound for Women's Nations Cup
With little more than a year to go until Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 kicks off in England, five of the participating teams will come face to face in the Women's Nations Cup in Canada from 10-22 August as they begin to build towards the showpiece,
South Africa made their debut at the last 15-a-side World Cup in Canada in 2006 and while they didn't win a match, the lessons learned from competing against the elite nations in Women's Rugby have seen the game grow.
The South Africans reached the semi finals at the first ever Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens competition in Dubai earlier this and were unlucky to miss out to eventual champions Australia in an end-to-end affair.
All 12 members of that Sevens squad will travel to Ontario for the Women's Nations Cup, where they will play four matches in nine days, starting with France on 10 August at Appleby College in Oakville and followed by USA, hosts Canada and favourites England.
"We are looking forward to the opportunity of participating in the Nations Cup as this will be one of the only opportunities we'll have to see our women's side in action outside of South Africa," explained coach Denver Wannies.
New caps for France
"With the Women's Rugby World Cup taking place in 2010, our main goal for this competition will be to judge ourselves against the likes of England and France, who regularly compete on the international stage.
"It is also important for Women's Rugby in South Africa to see where we are in terms of our competitiveness on the international stage.
"The 26 players selected include players that represented the Springbok Women's Sevens team at the Sevens World Cup in Dubai earlier this year. Those ladies are the only players in our squad who really boast international experience playing matches outside South Africa."
South Africa's opening opponents France have also named their squad for the expanded tournament with the coaching team of Christian Galonnier, Sébastien Bertrank and Nathalie Amiel selecting four uncapped players among a 30-strong group.
Sonia Amat, Manon Audre, Sandrine Legros and Cindy Reynaud are the new call-ups to a squad which has a further 11 players with caps in single figures. Christine Le Duff is the most experienced member with 53 caps for France, bronze medallists at the last Women's RWC.
South Africa Women's squad:
Forwards: Onicca Moaga, Portia Jonga, *Mandisa Williams, Ramona Brown, *Nomathamsanqa Faleni, Cebisa Kula, *Lamla Momoti, Zandile Nojoko, Donna Sidumbu, Namhla Siyolo, Michelle Kona, *Nombulelo Mayongo, Wendy Khumalo, Dolly Mavumengwana, Claudia Thompson, Nosipho Poswa.
Backs: *Yolanda Meiring, *Natasha Hofmeester, Fundiswa Plaatjie, *Saloma Booysen, *Lorinda Brown, *Phumeza Gadu, *Zenay Jordaan, *Marilize Jordaan, *Aimee Barrett, Cherne Roberts.
* Played at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009
France Women's squad:
Sandrine Agricole, Celine Allainmat, Sonia Amat, Manon Audre, Clémence Audebert, Aurélie Bailon, Céline Barthelemy, Cyrielle Bouisset, Claire Canal, Lucie Canal, Aurélia Cellier, Clotilde Flaugere, Lucille Godiveau, Marie Charlotte Hebel, Nadège Labbey, Caroline Ladagnous, Christelle Le Duff, Sandrine Legros, Stéphanie Loyer, Cyndia Mansard, Emilie Moreaux, Audrey Noguera, Alexandra Pertus, Elodie Poublan, Sandra Rabier, Cindy Reynaud, Laetitia Salles, Jennifer Troncy, Amandine Vaupre, Marie Alice Yahe.