RUGBY

Springbok Women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer acknowledged that more could be done for the women’s game, but chose to see it as a “glass half-full” situation in terms of development and investment from the top.

Former SA Women’s Sevens coach Paul Delport slammed SA Rugby, telling News24 Sport on Wednesday that it was “unacceptable for the world’s leading rugby nation to be unwilling to invest in women’s rugby.”

“I can’t be a part of that anymore because it would be a lie to try to bring talented women into the game when there are no real opportunities for them,” Delport explained.

Raubenheimer, who qualified South Africa for the current Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, stated that there was a lot going on behind the scenes that he was not aware of.

He wanted to do the best he could with the hand he was dealt.

“I know there’s a lot going on behind the scenes from an administrative standpoint,” Raubenheimer said.

“I’m not aware of the organization’s [plans] to improve women’s rugby. I also can’t speak for the Sevens and how that structure works.

“The only thing I can say from a women’s 15s perspective, and especially what is going on on the field and within our development and programme, is that we always want more.

“There is definitely room for improvement. But the glass is always half-full for me. I don’t want to see the glass as half-empty.

Women’s rugby was SA Rugby’s second-highest priority, and the appointment of women’s high-performance manager Lynne Cantwell meant more player contracts.

After finishing 10th in the 2014 Women’s World Cup, South African women went four years without playing a single Test.

The gender gap in on-field accomplishments, off-field investment, and remuneration remained stark.

Raubenheimer, who resurrected the 15s team, expressed pride in the current crop’s progress.

Babalwa Latsha, Zintle Mpupha, and Catha Jacobs were among the first women to earn overseas playing club contracts during his tenure. The Bok Women also won their first match away from home earlier this year, defeating Japan.

“Having said that, I’m very pleased with the development that our team and our players have undergone,” Raubenheimer said.

“And they absolutely deserve more than they are currently receiving. But this team is tenacious, ready to prove people wrong, to do everything they can to inspire South Africa’s young women.

“We’re more concerned with what’s in front of us than what’s behind us.”


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