Delta Drone Womens 7s team’s impressive 2017 campaign

ANTHONY JORDAAN

7’s Rugby, a variation of the fifteen-man game, is currently considered to be one of the fastest growing and most exciting sports in the world. However, it is the traditional men’s variation of the sport which continually receives both sponsorships and global support for the development of the brand of rugby. Women’s participation in traditionally male dominated sporting codes is becoming more widely accepted in the mainstream media and on a global scale. Among those leading the way for this more progressive approach to sport are the UP-Tuks Delta Drone women’s 7’s rugby team. The team, comprised of UP students, is currently regarded as one of the best club sides in the world. This is attributed to the club’s success on a local level, in which players dominate the selection processes for the Blue Bulls provincial side. Even more impressively, the club have been invited to participate in an array of international tournaments in recently due to their ongoing success. This move has claimed them many victories over countries such as Fiji, France, Belgium, the USA and Portugal.

The UP-Tuks Delta Drone competed in two international tournaments in France back in May. This involved participation in the Centrale Tournament in Paris, followed by the Stanlisas Sevens Tournament the following week. Although failing to impact in the first competition, it was at the Stanlisas tournam ent where the team crafted their own piece of history, beating Sweden’s Jesters to win the Stanlisas Sevens Tournament in Nancy, France. During the tournament, Tuks women scored a total of 168 points, conceding only 27 in the process. Followin g the encounter, the head of programme and coach, Riaan van der Merwe, went as far as to describe the result as the team’s best result since 2002. Victory however, although valuable to the team, proved only to be the start of what is currently turning out to be a ground-breaking year for players in the team. Most recently, the team took part in the Munchen Oktoberfest Tournament in Munich, Germany. The side, playing in front of the country’s Olympic stadium, received a standing ovation during their final game, having romped through the competition, scoring a total of 42 tries and 285 points in five games without dropping a single point the entire tournament.

All five fixtures impressively ended with upwards of 50 points each. It remains unknown at the current moment, whether any team has ever managed to win an international tournament without conceding a single point, as the team will surely lay claim, at least momentarily, to having set an unofficial world record in women’s 7’s rugby. Van der Merwe attributes the team’s success to the women’s commitment and consistency on the field.

With many players receiving plaudits for the side’s participation in the tournament, Nadine Roos received the player of the tournament award. Coach Riaan van der Merwe, however, further heaped praise on captain, Libbie Janse van Rensburg and hooker, Kemi Baloi, for powerful performances in the tournament.The team will now look to refocus their attentions to Dubai, where they will be seeking to extend their current run o f form in the November tournament. Van der Merwe expressed his excitement for the team’s participation in what he described as a tournament at an “extremely high level”.

 

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