Kwaru take crown
THE Kwazakhele Rugby Union (Kwaru) women's team ended the season on a spectacular note when they won their second consecutive Eastern Cape championship title.
PE-based Kwaru compete in section A of the EP women's league, which also comprises African Bombers (Kwazakhele), Tigers (Walmer), Motherwell Rugby Club (Motherwell), Gladiators (Northern Areas) and Morning Stars (Wells Estate).
The Kwaru women's team, established in 2000, finished the EP league unbeaten and then defeated the Border champions, KwaNobuhle, to be crowned provincial champions. Team manager Clinton Plaatjies said he was impressed with the club's achievements this year.
He said the team had 25 players between the ages of 17 and 32. They use the Dan Qeqe Stadium as the venue for their home matches.
"I'm proud of my team because they did very well by adding more trophies to our cabinet this season," he said.
"They don't have any competition in the Nelson Mandela Bay and the Border regions, and the strongest team for us to face are the Stormers of Middelburg."
Kwaru provided their first Springbok players – Namhla Siyolo, Tamia Faleni and Lamla Momoti – in 2007 and the club continues to produce national team players.
Plaatjies said some of the team members had been selected for the under-20 national team and players such as Unathi Mali and Daphne Scheepers were in camp with the SA women's sevens team.
"Our challenge is we are running this team out of our own pockets and the players are determined and hungry to play," Plaatjies said.
"My aim is to see them competing with the top sides in the country and even playing overseas."
Team coach Xola Jacobs said he wanted to build a side that would produce future Springbok players. He said the team had worked hard to win their trophies this season.
"My first objective is to get them to play to the best of their ability and represent the region in the provincial and national teams."
Jacobs said another objective would be to give veteran players an opportunity to become coaches.
Former SA hooker and Kwaru captain Donna Sidumba said the players had been overwhelmed by their success this season.
Sidumba played for the Springboks in the Women's World Cup held in England in 2010.
"We had a great season and we played as a team, even though sometimes it was not easy to lead a women's team on the field.
"But, as a captain, I brought calm and unity to the players in most of the matches," she said.