After a previous failure to launch, Wits Rugby have again introduced a women’s sevens rugby team.
Wits Rugby held a preliminary training session for a new women’s sevens rugby team on Monday, August 5, after announcing the introduction of the new team on July 31.
This comes after previous failed attempts to introduce a women’s rugby team to the university.
Monday’s training session was the second session held this year after try-outs held earlier in the year failed to produce a team.
Nineteen Witsies arrived for the session which was conducted by the team’s newly appointed head coach Marius Adams.
“The numbers were a big issue. We didn’t have the numbers of female players coming through to join and be part of the squad. And we didn’t really have a coach at that time and it was difficult for us coaches to coach the ladies as well as the gents,” Adams told Wits Vuvuzela.
Khanya Makhothi, a first-year health sciences student said the rugby administration may have been too concentrated on the male players to start a women’s team.
“I think it’s about time Wits started a female rugby team. It’s also good they partake in all the other competitions that other varsities do and to promote women’s rugby,” she said.
Newly appointed Wits rugby club manager Ferdinand Kelly said the timing was finally right to introduce a women’s team at Wits.
“At the moment, women in sport is massive. It’s a part of history. It’s the first women’s rugby team at Wits. It’s a special thing but it’s been due for a long time,” he said.
Makhothi said that the lack of women’s rugby at Wits had made her want to transfer schools.
“The only reason I wanted to leave Wits was because they didn’t have a female rugby team. Females need to be respected in sport and if not now then when?” the 18-year-old said.
First-year BA student Noluthando Ndaba expected to find a women’s rugby team at Wits when she enrolled.
“They tried to start a team in the beginning of the year and that failed so I’m a bit sceptical of this but hopefully everything works out,” she said.
The training sessions are being held in anticipation of the University Sport South Africa Sevens rugby tournament taking place in Margate on September 22 – 24.
Kelly said the club’s main goal “is to establish female rugby at Wits by participating in the tournament, not to compete. Out of that tournament I think we can draw a lot of players from high school and other clubs”.
Kelly said appointing a woman as the head coach of the women’s team in the future is a priority.
“Getting a female coach or team manager on board is definitely something to look into as we proceed. But for now we’re in the introductory phase and we’re only starting to establish a team,” he said.
FEATURED IMAGE: Women’s rugby sevens head coach Marius Adams (centre) instructs prospective players. Photo: Sanele Msiza