It’s been an amazing couple of weeks for women’s rugby in this country. Following their breakthrough away win over Japan on July 30, news that FNB will be the new main sponsor of the Springbok Women’s team was confirmed on Wednesday, with a stalwart national team set to take on Spain at Ellis Park in a curtain-raiser on Saturday. -raiser to the massive Rugby Championship against the All Blacks.

Delighted SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said finding a major partner for the national women’s team was a difficult task, but after scouting several potential sponsors, they returned to the Old Faithful at FNB and committed to sharing the federation’s passion for the development of the women’s game.

This is the same company that, after Springbok rugby arguably hit rock bottom in 2017, signed a three-year deal that was extended for a further five in 2020 as other sponsors jumped ship. Bank is undoubtedly reaping the benefits of South African rugby at its absolute best right now.

“We’ve had so many offers to sponsor our women’s team to so many companies,” Alexander said during the announcement at Melrose Arch on Wednesday.

“But as they did when they came in after the 2016 season when all our other sponsors left us, FNB answered the call. There is a lot of talk about supporting women’s sports, but very few corporations do.

“This is an exciting start for the women’s game. You can see the quality of their playing and I have to give credit to Lynn Cantwell [High-Performance Manager for Women’s Rugby] to install the correct poles.

“We want people to see our Springbok women in action to expose them to the light. Society needs to change its mindset, and it’s time for corporations to put their money where their mouths are,” Alexander said.

Top class effort

South Africa’s 20-10 win over Japan was a high-quality effort and Cantwell, the former Ireland captain, described it on Wednesday as “a huge bet on the ground, a well-planned victory that was no fluke”.

Read more: Springbok Women make history with win over Japan

Springbok captain Nolusindiso Booi was delighted with all the good news surrounding her team and said Saturday’s Test against Spain at Ellis Park was their chance to perform in front of their heroes in the men’s team.

“We’re really excited to play in front of our heroes and show our rugby and make the fans proud,” said Bui. “We’ve seen a lot of improvement, things are changing in women’s rugby.

“We are on a high and now we need to compete with the big teams as our aim is to finish in the top five and ensure that every girl who plays rugby aspires to play for the Springboks,” said Bui.

Also read: “The fans in the stands mean everything to us,” says Bok captain Kolisi

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