CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 3, 2021/APO Group/ —
Namibia and Zambia will bring the 2021 African series of women’s 15s test matches to a close. A total of 11 countries were involved in this series in 2021. The purpose of the series was to assess levels of play amongst women’s teams on the African continent. Next year will see the start of a new fully structured African competition to qualify African representatives to the new global WXV competition launched by World Rugby.
Between June and July 2021, Kenya faced Madagascar twice in Nairobi while Uganda met Zimbabwe twice in Kampala. The Cameroonians had defeated their Burkinabe sisters twice in Ouagadougou on June 9 and 12 and finally Tunisia emerged victorious in a three teams’ tournament against Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire in October in Tunis.
Janis Nduli, Chairperson of the Zambia Rugby Women’s Association is feeling optimistic: “The national Zambian ladies team currently ranked world #30 are rearing to prove themselves against our Namibian sisters who are currently ranked number 52. We are counting on Captain Natasha Musonda and our fearless team including the formidable likes of Margaret Kasonka to give Namibia a great show.”
Commenting on the match, CJ Kotze, Coach of Namibia’s National Women’s 15s Team, remarked that: “We are ecstatic about the Namibia Zambia game that lies ahead. It marks the beginning of an exciting journey for Namibian women’s rugby and I am extremely delighted that our first match will be played at home. At present, we are not predicting the result, but at least we will know exactly where Namibian women’s rugby stands competitively once the final whistle has been blown. This will also give us insight into the strategies that need to be put in place for Namibia to become a competitive nation on the African continent.”
By establishing a unified international 15s calendar and introducing WXV, World Rugby is creating a platform for women’s international teams to compete in more consistent, competitive, and sustainable competitions at regional and global level.
As part of Rugby Africa’s mission to develop women’s rugby on the continent, the tournament enables women to express themselves through this sport of strong values.
Last year the Women’s Rugby Advisory Committee (WRAC) was established to advise all Rugby Africa committees on positive gender inclusion practices, with a particular focus on women’s rugby.
In line with Rugby Africa’s strategic plan and broader World Rugby commitments, the role of the Committee is to define key performance indicators to demonstrate progress of the development of women in rugby at all levels as well as monitor player welfare and the development and retention of female players.
Speaking about the upcoming and final match of the season and the impact of female rugby development, Women’s Rugby manager at Rugby Africa, Maha Zaoui, said: “The promotion and positioning of women in rugby at all levels will result in significantly increased involvement and interest from fans, players and ultimately investors. With the Women’s 15s tournament we aim at growing the sport with a focus on development pathways for women and girls, working with key stakeholders. Women’s rugby has certainly evolved and came a long way, but there is still room for advancement and showcasing of talent of women in the game.”
She wished the competing teams well and said that Rugby Africa was looking forward to some energetic and feisty play on the field.
Women’s Rugby in Africa
On the African continent, women’s rugby has seen tremendous growth. In the last decade it increased from 50 000 female players in 2012, to over 260 000 in 2018. For this tremendous growth to continue, strong leadership in women’s rugby needs to continue. The Women’s Executive Leadership Scholarship is one of the tools that will enable expansion.