WOMEN’S rugby in Walmer is on the rise thanks to the formidable Tigers Ladies rugby club. Their performance in the Mayoral Cup competition in March is testament to this.
They won the B-division just two months after their very first training session as a team.
Formed by team manager Nomatemba Gum in November last year, the Tigers Ladies began training in January.
The squad consists of 26 females of different age groups, including two players as young as 10.
The Tigers currently play in the B-division of the EP Women’s Rugby League, which is mainly for beginners. They have won most of their matches this season. In the Mayoral Cup they lost one match against Zwide in the prelims but beat them in the final.
“They love rugby so much, they are amazing, very dedicated, disciplined and willing to learn,” said Gum.
The Tigers are based at the John Masiza Primary School in the Walmer Township and practise from Monday to Thursday.
With the support and guidance of the head coach, Mongezi Cwilana, the young women have grown in confidence as their ability improved.
Four players have been selected for the Eastern Province u-16 women’s rugby squad and three senior ladies have been selected to attend the senior trials this month.
“My goal is to share the experience that I have,” said Cwilana who is also the EP women’s sevens team coach.
“I want to make sure that they are mentally fit, skillful and understand the game,” he added.
Cwilana has been involved in women’s rugby since 2000 when he started a team in Zwide, and has been coaching since 2005.
The former African Bombers player believes that there is a lot of talent in the city that needs nurturing.
He would like to see the Tigers players playing in the provincial and national teams.
“If they get the chance, they must grab it. There is a lot they might achieve if they concentrate on what we teach them.”
Several of Cwilana’s Seven’s players have made the national sevens squad as well as the 15-a-side squad.
Siphosethu Ngada, who plays a hooker, flank and No 8, only started playing rugby this year when the team was formed.
The 21-year-old Walmer Township resident enjoys playing and learning about the game.
“I want to improve my skills and get better,” said Ngada who likes the fast pace of the sport.
“I am going to carry on playing and my goal is to one day make the Eastern Province team.”
Cwilana said the interest in rugby is strong in Walmer and players are motivated.
“They are always at practice and they want to be here,” he said.
The Tigers will be playing in a Youth Day women’s rugby tournament this Saturday (June 16) at Walmer High School and John Masiza.