DHL WP Women kick-off at home

PUBLISHED: April 12, 2024

DHL Western Province Women get their Women’s Premier Division campaign underway in a coastal clash with Hollywoodbets Sharks Women at City Park on Saturday.

This season, teams will again play a double round of fixtures to showcase the growth of the women’s game in the country, with the Free State Women – First Division champions in 2023 – as the new kid on the block and eight teams to contest the league.

The opening shots of the tournament will be fired in Athlone and Alberton, where DHL WP will host Sharks Women and the Golden Lions Women await EP Queens respectively.

The Border Ladies will open their campaign against the Bulls Daisies in a 13h30 kick-off in East London, before the Sanlam Boland Dames will welcome the Free State Women to Premier Division rugby in Wellington at 15h00.

The late game will provide some pointers on what the Free State Women will bring to the tournament, but also show insights into the recruitment drive of the home team, who amongst others, will have Springbok Women players Nompumelelo Mathe, Nomawethu Mabenge, Chuma Qawe and Nokubongo Siko in their ranks for the first time.

The Free Staters, mindful of the perils of playing in the topflight and keen to adjust to the demands of rugby at that level, boosted their ranks by roping in some quality players from elsewhere.

The most noticeable are three former EP Queens in Anacadia Minnaar, who has played at flyhalf for the Springbok Women and Springbok Women’s Sevens teams, as well as Junior Springbok Women outside backs Robyn Strydom and Johnerecia Booysen, two of the most talented in their age group in the country.

Darren Colby, who was promoted after assisting Anton Smit with Free State last season, is one of three new head coaches in 2024. Border’s Nonkosi Sobandla and former Springbok Women regular Namhla Siyolo – in charge at the EP Queens – are the others.

Siyolo, who played 21 Tests for South Africa, will have the vast rugby knowledge of Zenay Jordaan (36 Tests) available as her assistant, while Sobandla, who played at hooker for the Border side for over a decade, will bring that experience to the array of coaching skills on display in the 2024 competition.

Thomas Chowles (Sanlam Boland Dames), Hayden Groepes (Bulls Daisies), Stanley Raubenheimer (DHL Western Province), Timmy Goodwin (Golden Lions Women) and Lungisa Kama (Sharks Women) all have impeccable coaching credentials which point to a very tightly contested tournament.

DHL Western Province v Sharks Women
Venue: City Park Stadium, Athlone
Date: Saturday, 13 April
Referee: Siyanda Pikoli
Kick-off: 13h00

Golden Lions Women v EP Queens
Venue: Alberton Rugby Club
Date: Saturday, 13 April
Referee: Bulela Qwane
Kick-off: 13h00
Livestream: SA Rugby YouTube channel

Border Ladies v Bulls Daisies
Venue: Police Park, East London
Date: Saturday, 13 April
Referee: Angie Bezuidenhout
Kick-off: 13h30

Sanlam Boland Dames v Free State Women
Venue: Boland Stadium, Wellington
Date: Saturday, 13 April
Referee: Zoe Naude
Kick-off: 15h00