THANDO CELE AND THORISO PHASHA
The UP women’s sevens team took part in two friendly matches on 3 September at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). A number of new players were given the opportunity to play in the games as the UP athletes hoped to increase the stature and popularity of the sport among women, as part of their preparation for the USSA tournament in Margate on 24 September.
UP are the defending champions of USSA, and it showed as they scored two convincing 68-0 and 52-0 wins against UJ and Wanderers, respectively. These performances served as stepping stones in the right direction as the UP-Tuks women hope to defend their title on Heritage Day. Perdeby caught up with Tuks’ captain Scherren Long and gathered her thoughts, general opinions and perspectives on the weekend and looking forward.
You scored a total of 120 points as a team without conceding a single point in the tournament. How did you manage such a feat?
We were fortunate enough to have three girls on the field that have played internationally. They gave the rest of the team the guidance and confidence to execute what we’ve been taught. The girls showed a lot of heart and committed to making their tackles.
What are your goals as a team for the remainder of the season?
Our goals moving forward would be to continue our unbeaten streak on home soil. We have the USSA sevens tournament coming up that we’d like to defend. We also have our season with the Blue Bulls leading up to nationals that we have to defend as well, and after that we have two tournaments overseas. All our preparations are aimed at doing well overseas again.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a team this year, and how have you overcome these difficulties?
We have always struggled getting more ladies involved in playing sevens. Some tournaments we only played with one or two subs. We’d like to get the message out that anyone can play sevens, and we’d also like to dispel any stereotypes and myths surrounding women playing rugby. We have reached out to the touch rugby community and gained quite a few skilled players from there.
How did the team respond in the absence of the head coach during this tournament?
Obviously playing without your head coach is never fun. We always appreciate his guidance and leadership before and during matches. He is so passionate and it really gives the girls a great energy to feed off. Luckily we were left in the more than capable hands of Konrad Lotter, our technical adviser. He has also contributed greatly to the team’s success.
Photo: Scherren Long’s Facebook page