According to veteran scrumhalf Tayla Kinsey, one of four survivors from the 2014 World Cup, the Springbok women must “shock the world” in order to defeat England and qualify for the World Cup playoffs.
That was the last time the Boks participated in the worldwide tournament and also the last time they won a World Cup match, against Samoa in France.
“The system was radically different back then; you also competed for final standings,” Kinsey explained. “Now, after the pool rounds, four teams will be eliminated in a knockout format.”
This puts pressure on less established clubs like ours, as we must win every game.
We are still seeking the victory that would propel us into the top eight, and facing England will not be an easy challenge. It will determine whether or not we return home.
The initial objective will be to shock the world and defeat England in order to remain in the competition. In its absence, the second objective will be to demonstrate to the world our rugby style and competitiveness. We need to know how far we have progressed as a team, and England will provide that information.”
Kinsey faced French tennis champion Laure Sansus in the opening match, but she is unfazed by her opponent.
Sansus stated, “We are facing a collection of superstars in the England side, so the key is to not be intimidated and instead believe in teamwork.”
“Rather than individual efforts, it will be a unified effort that will get us across the finish line. If each of us gives our all to the team, there will be a competitive match.”
Kinsey saw the loss over Fiji as a learning experience.
“We are accustomed to more structured formations, but against Fiji, we faced a style we had never seen before,” she explained.
“Despite being a touch slow to adjust, we rallied and placed ourselves in position to win with one minute remaining.
“Now that we have the experience, we can look back on this offloading strategy in the future.”
Regardless of the outcome, Kinsey hopes for a team effort from her squad on Sunday. Kinsey stated, “The win will bring its own benefits, but if not, I would prefer a performance that demonstrates our improvement over the past year, since this will serve as a foundation for the future.”