KATLEGO PHEEHA

The Tuks Ladies Sevens team is preparing for a worldwide tour to compete against some of the best rugby nations in the world as well as some of the best teams in South Africa. The team celebrates its ten-year anniversary this year.

The team will begin its road trip when they head to Rome on 18 May. “Seven national teams have been invited to the Rome Sevens 2012 and our team is the only club team that was hand-picked to compete in this prestigious event,” explained Riaan Van der Merwe, coach of the Tuks Ladies Sevens. The team will then progress to the Reunion Sevens on 23 June for the third time and will hope to wrap up the year with the three-day Dubai Sevens starting on 30 November. In 2010 the team also competed in the Hong Kong IRB Sevens, which is regarded as the most prestigious women sevens rugby tournament in the world. Tuks Ladies remains the only club team ever to be invited to it.

Led by captain Cindy Cant, the team will be going up against the national teams of New Zealand, France, Russia, USA, Italy, Reunion, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The team will also compete against the local Sharks, Pumas and Cheetahs women’s sides.Tuks Ladies have a very impressive history on the international stage. On 25 June 2011 the team won the sevens tournament in Reunion when they pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tour by beating France.

“The teams’ victory is due to a passionate team effort and tons of perseverance,” said Van der Merwe after the game. They have also shown their strength in Dubai, finishing second in their pool in 2009 ahead of both France and USA, but they lost to France in the semi-final.

The team is also part of the pre-Olympics for London 2012, will be competing in the 2013 Sevens World Cup in Russia and aims to take part in the 2016 Olympics which will be held in Rio de Janeiro.

The team still faces challenges, one of which is funding. “Funding is always very problematic and we are in desperate search of a sponsor for the team,” concludes Van der Merwe.

Photo: Jaco Joubert

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