Rugby not only for men

2015-04-30 16:54
RECRUITMENT DRIVE: The Free State Cheetahs women’s team are looking for players to join them. 

RECRUITMENT DRIVE: The Free State Cheetahs women’s team are looking for players to join them. Photo: Supplied

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WOMEN’S rugby in the Free State is not as big as compared to other regions within South Africa – and Orna Prinsloo is determined to change that.

The Free State Cheetahs women’s team manager wants to see more females playing rugby in the province.

“Rugby was known as a men’s sport in the past, but things have changed a great deal. Women can also play rugby these days,” Prinsloo told Express.

“We are presently recruiting women rugby players to join the Free State Cheetahs women’s team. We are looking at players who are 18 years and older. It does not really matter whether they played rugby before – we have coaches who will teach them how to play the game. We want to build a strong team that will compete against teams from other regions,” she said.

“We are particularly looking for players who are staying around Bloemfontein. We have four training venues in the City: the Tempe Military Base, Clive Solomon Stadium, Masenkeng Stadium and the Outdoor Sports Centre,” she added.

Prinsloo said women’s rugby was growing in the black and coloured communities, but the same could not be said about the white community.

“The problem is that the white community reckons that a woman’s place is not on the rugby field, it’s in the house and in the kitchen. That’s only my opinion. We need to change that perception. Rugby is not only a sport for men,” she lamented.

“We have all different kinds of women playing for our team (single, married, divorced, you name them). Those women who are willing to be part of us are more than welcome. It is free to join the team,” she said.

The biggest challenge when it comes to running a women’s rugby team, Prinsloo said, was funding.

“We are running the team on a shoestring budget. We do receive funding from the South African Rugby Union (Saru) to be used exclusively for women’s rugby, but it is not sufficient. With that money, we have to buy boots for the players and pay for their transport to training and to the matches. We also need to pay for medics at the games, et cetera,” she explained.

“It is really quite costly to run the club without sponsors. It would be nice if we could get people to sponsor the team. Without the necessary sponsors we won’t be able to afford some of the things we need,” she added.

The Cheetahs did exceptionally well last season as they won the South African Sevens competition in the A2 Section.

“We didn’t play in the A1 Section because we don’t have depth like the other teams that we compete with. We are not as strong as other unions such as Border who has 56 registered rugby teams in their area.

We don’t have one club in our area, we only have a group of girls training together. Eastern Province also has 18 registered teams. SWD Eagles has nine registered clubs. Western Province has 14 clubs. Blue Bulls have ten clubs. KwaZulu-Natal has 21 clubs. We really cannot compete with those regions because they have a lot of girls from which to choose the cream of the crop,” said Prinsloo.

There will be an exhibition women’s rugby match at the Sentraal High School in Bloemfontein this Saturday, where the Cheetahs will form two teams to play against each other on the day. Kick-off time has not been confirmed yet.

Women who wish to join the Cheetahs women’s team should call Lerato on 078-554-9290 or Orna on 083-347-1872

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