Bay women in Bok Test lineup
Two Nelson Mandela Bay rugby players, Aseza Hele and Siyanda Pikoli, have received a call-up to join the Springbok Women squad in Stellenbosch as they prepare for their first round of Test matches abroad.
The duo were among the seven players included in the team from the SA Select Women’s squad which faced the British Army and England Academy team on a threematch tour to the UK in October last year.
Speaking from Stellenbosch, Hele, 23, said: “It feels great to be picked once again, it shows consistency in my performance.
“This is a great opportunity for me and I am very excited to be part of the team.
“I hope to gain more experience so that I can come home and teach other up-and-coming players what I learnt in the national setup.”
The flank, who plays for Kwaru, said experienced players were not shy to share their knowledge to help the youngsters in the team.
“If there is something that I did not get at training, they are willing to assist,” Hele said.
“They also motivate us during training and those ‘you can do it, don’t give up’ remarks really help to lift the spirit when you are down.
“The mood in the camp is great, the players are excited and ready for the Tests.”
Lock Pikoli, 20, of Zwide said: “It’s the third year that I have been called up.
“I was so excited when I heard the news that I would be going to Stellenbosch, I can’t explain the feeling.
“The mood in the camp is great, the players are ready and looking forward to the games,” Pikoli said.
“There is a sisterhood vibe in the squad and we support each other.
“The coaches have been focusing on trying to figure or how we can keep focus even when we are tired or under pressure.
“They have also been working on our strength,” the African Bombers star said.
Coach Stanley Raubenheimer has assembled a 32member squad, of which four players are from the 2014 showpiece.
The squad will be reduced to 28 before their departure to Europe on October 30 to face the UK Armed Forces in London on Friday, November 2, Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday, November 10, Spain in Villajoyosa on Saturday, November 17, and Italy in Prato on Sunday, November 25.