Steinhoff Maties rugby sevens women’s team played its second tournament on Saturday, 30 September after starting only 6 weeks ago.
This is the second time that Maties Rugby have attempted to get a women’s team up and running.
Head of Maties Rugby, Quintin van Rooyen, said: “We had [a women’s rugby team] in the past, then we stopped a few years back because the student [interest] was less – there were only nine students.
“So, our ultimate goal here is to start women’s rugby again.”
Corine van Rooyen is one of the founding members and said she had to fight hard to make her efforts to start a rugby team a reality.
Van Rooyen, who had previously played fifteens rugby provincially in the UK, said: “I played for Maties fifteens in my first year but we didn’t have enough girls so the team got cut.”
According to the team’s coach, former Cheetahs rugby player Eddie Fredericks, Maties Rugby sees women’s rugby as a long-term project.
“I think they are committed. Otherwise they wouldn’t have asked me to come and coach them and help them. I think they want to see this unfold and it’s a good thing for the varsity as well.
“Women’s rugby is growing in South Africa … and I think a team like this needs to be handled well, taken care of to keep everyone close so they can grow in the years to come,” Fredericks adds.
Before the day’s first match Fredericks acknowledged that the team had its work cut out for them.
“Today is going to be a bit of a different challenge because there are new girls who joined us in the last two weeks. Some of them joined us in the last week, some of them are not here who played in the previous tournament.”
He added that training over such a short time period has been challenging but said that the team “might pull it off”.
Steinhoff Maties lost against UWC 20-5, and 5-0 to German University of Cairo (GUC). A third match was scheduled to be played but the team never arrived.
Attendance has been one of the greatest challenges.
“Unfortunately, with women’s sport [this is because] of the funding,” says van Rooyen. – Andy Kohrs