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Ken Borland

Delight for doughty SA women’s rugby team

Posted on September 19, 2022 by Ken

It’s been an amazing couple of weeks for women’s rugby in this country. After their breakthrough victory on away soil over Japan on July 30, the news that FNB will be the new major sponsors of the Springbok women’s team was confirmed on Wednesday, and on Saturday the doughty national team will take on Spain at Ellis Park in the curtain-raiser to the massive Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks.

Delighted SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said finding a principal partner for the national women’s team had not been an easy task, but having chased after several potential sponsors, they then went back to an Old Faithful in FNB, and they have committed themselves to sharing the federation’s passion for the development of the women’s game.

It is the same company who, after Springbok rugby had arguably reached its nadir in 2017, signed a three-year deal, which was extended for five more in 2020, when other sponsors were jumping ship. The bank is undoubtedly now reaping the benefits with South African rugby on an absolute high.

“We have presented so many proposals to so many companies to sponsor our women’s team,” Alexander said at the announcement at Melrose Arch on Wednesday.

“But like they did when they came in after the 2016 season when all our other sponsors were leaving us, FNB have answered the call. A lot is being said about supporting women’s sport, but very few corporates actually do.

“This is an exciting start for the women’s game. You can see the quality of their play and I must commend Lynne Cantwell [High-Performance Manager for Women’s Rugby] for getting the right pillars in place.

“We want people to see our Springbok Women in action, to put them in the lights. Society needs to change its mindsets and the time has come for corporates to put their money where their mouths are,” Alexander said.

South Africa’s 20-10 win over Japan was a top-class effort, with Cantwell, a former Ireland captain, describing it on Wednesday as “a huge stake in the ground, a well-constructed win that was not by luck”.

Springbok captain Nolusindiso Booi was thrilled by all the good news surrounding her team and said Saturday’s Test against Spain at Ellis Park was a chance for them to perform in front of their heroes in the men’s side.

“We’re very excited to play before our heroes and display our rugby, and also to make the fans proud,” Booi said. “We’ve seen a lot of improvement, things are changing in women’s rugby.

“We’re on the up and now we need to go and compete with bigger teams as our goal is to make the top-five and ensure every girl playing rugby is aiming to play for the Springboks,” Booi said.

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