This was made apparent by No. 8 Aseza Hele as the South Africans prepared for Saturday’s match against France in Auckland (3.15am kick-off, SA time).
The fact that England, who are on a 26-Test winning streak, France, the classic dark horse, and Women’s World Cup debutants Fiji are in Pool C alongside South Africa led to a very subdued introduction of the Green and Gold during the opening ceremony in Auckland. Hele stated that this is what they like.
“We would want to enter contests as the underdog. Others may not rank or grade us to win the World Cup, but we know what we are capable of,” stated the Boland Dames and Hermanus Rugby Club player, age 27.
“Here, we are a sisterhood, and we assist one another. We are familiar with each other’s histories and adventures, as well as what it took to get to this point, so we will undoubtedly support one another and urge those back home to do the same.
“We want to show them what we’re capable of, but they must rise early for the France match in order to witness it.”
Hele, who has played 13 Tests for her country, believes they will be successful this weekend provided they stick to their game plan.
Hele stated, “We are here to play for you, the people of South Africa.”
“I’ve never played against France, but I’ve seen sufficient footage of them. I truly believe that we will be able to play a very competitive game against them.
“Because we are the underdogs, we have the freedom to play. We believe in what we’re doing, and if we execute our game plan properly on Saturday, we’ll be successful.”
Hele went on to remark that the damp weather they have encountered thus far will not deter them.
“We have no choice but to adapt, and we will be fine if we do. It was quite damp last Saturday when we trained versus Scotland,” she remarked.
“Initially, we struggled, but as we adapted to the circumstances, we performed well. I prefer a more intense game because I enjoy carrying the ball and picking it up. If you can do so and hold possession of the ball, we will have good momentum to play with.
“I will absolutely bring my best. We shall accept this game’s challenge.”