Reggae Girlz coach Menzies impressed with team fitness ahead of Panama clash

By Lennox Aldred May 14, 2019
Reggae Girlz coach Menzies impressed with team fitness ahead of Panama clash Lennox Aldred

Following their 1-1 draw with South Africa back in April, the Reggae Girlz will be back in action on Sunday when they take on a strong Panama unit, hoping to exact revenge following their 4-2 penalty shoot-out loss in the World Cup qualifiers last year.

 A bit of the aforementioned recent history seemed very much on the mind of head coach Hue Menzies as he assembled a strong squad to face the Central Americans on home soil.

Veteran attacking player Khadija Shaw will once again lead the line and will be joined by returning attacking AS Roma based midfielder Trudi Carter, who has been out for four months due to injury.

 Menzies is expected to name his final 23-man squad for the World Cup this week, and so he will be looking closely at some players.

 “We are in the last week of selecting our group and some of these players were told to step up if they are to make the cut. We have brought in the technology to test some of these players and so I feel it will come down to a more psychological aspect for some of these girls,” Menzies said.

 The coach had high praises for University of Tennessee graduate Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw who showed excellent physical ability in practice.

 “When you look at the work ethic of someone like ‘Bunny’ it shows that some of the senior players are ready for the task at hand, it is very encouraging heading into our final set of warm-up games,” he added.

 Following the Panama friendly on Sunday, the squad will depart on Monday for a camp in Florida where the likes of players like Jody Brown and Marlo Sweatman are expected to join up with the team.

The Girls will then depart for the United Kingdom for a friendly against Scotland in Edinburgh on May 28.

 

Related items

  • Rugby World Cup 2019: Springboks push right buttons and eject hosts Japan Rugby World Cup 2019: Springboks push right buttons and eject hosts Japan

    Rassie Erasmus was thankful South Africa "knew which buttons to push" to fend off the threat of another Rugby World Cup defeat to Japan.

    After their stunning loss to the Brave Blossoms four years ago in Brighton, it was a different story at the Tokyo Stadium on Sunday as South Africa emerged 26-3 winners.

    They will face Wales in the semi-finals next Sunday in Yokohama, and the Springboks were buoyant after seeing off familiar foes in the quarters.

    But the lead had been just 5-3 at half-time, and Erasmus admitted: "We were nervous."

    He and his coaching staff largely stayed out of dressing-room discussions, leaving it for the likes of captain Siya Kolisi to set minds at ease.

    "Going in at half-time only being up a few points and leaving a few tries out there, there was definitely a little bit of a lull and a quietness in our changing room," Erasmus said.

    "But I think, being together for 17 weeks, the guys knew which buttons to push to get ourselves out of that lull and come out and produce in the second half. We're very proud of that."

    Makazole Mapimpi grabbed his second try of the game and man of the match Faf de Klerk also dotted down as South Africa gradually ground down the energetic hosts.

    Erasmus praised the "intensity and tenacity" of Japan, suggesting they would be worthy additions to the Rugby Championship – currently contested by the Springboks, Australia, South Africa and Argentina – if logistics made it viable.

    "I do know the brand they play is pretty exciting and it would really fit in," said Erasmus, calling it "a nice proposition" but stressing he had not been party to any such discussions.

    Erasmus was thrilled with the defensive strength of his team, as they nullified Japan's attacking vibrancy when both Ireland and Scotland had succumbed.

    "I think we trust our system really well and we know defence is a pretty important thing if you want to win a World Cup," Erasmus added in his post-match news conference.

    The former Munster coach thinks his experience in the Pro14 competition, facing Welsh club sides, could be useful as South Africa when to clear the last hurdle before the final.

    "I've got good hidings against Scarlets and those guys when I was coaching Munster, and good wins against them as well," he said.

    "They are definitely a team with a lot of X factor, but one thing that strikes me about them ... is they've got a great coaching staff and I think they've created depth in every single position.

    "They've got good confidence, great team spirit. It'll be a big challenge for us. Knowing the way the Welsh teams play may help me a little bit."

  • Rohit reflects on 'most challenging' innings after stunning double century for India Rohit reflects on 'most challenging' innings after stunning double century for India

    Rohit Sharma labelled his maiden Test double century as "probably the most challenging" innings he has played.

    India took complete control of the third and final Test against South Africa on day two in Ranchi, with Rohit scoring 212 from 225 deliveries to help the hosts to 497-9 declared, the Proteas reaching stumps on 9-2 in reply.

    Rohit, who had three double hundreds in ODIs but never in the five-day format, faced a nervy wait after lunch was called while he was on 199.

    The 32-year-old, who has excelled at the top of the order having endured a stop-start Test career to date, then saw out a maiden over upon resumption before finally getting over the line with an excellent pull for six off Lungi Ngidi. 

    Asked about his wait, Rohit said: "That's the nature of the game. You can't do anything about it. I wouldn't say it's frustrating. It's just the laws of the game. 

    "The time [a session] has to finish, it has to finish on that time.

    "From my side, I wasn't thinking about that at all. Because I knew the time will come and whenever it's supposed to happen, it will happen. I was just trying to be positive, think positive at that particular time. 

    "I know it can be frustrating at times but there's nothing you can do about it. I just went back happy [at lunch], you know, 199 not out, I'd take that any day."

    Rohit now has six centuries in Test cricket but conceded this was the toughest innings he has played.

    "I haven't played much, I have played only 30 Test matches," he added. 

    "Yes, in terms of what was thrown at me in this particular Test match, I would definitely say that it was probably the most challenging one."

    India had stumbled to 39-3 on day one before Rohit was joined by Ajinkya Rahane, with the duo putting on an outstanding fourth-wicket stand of 267.

    "We've seen Ajinkya for so many years, the way his Test career has progressed, and whenever the team has been in a difficult situation, he's come and rescued us," Rohit said. 

    "This isn't something he's done just once or twice, he's done it in many innings. This shows how strong he is, mentally, and how much hunger he has, to be able to steer the team out of bad situations.

    "We've seen it outside India, we've seen it in India as well, so Ajinkya's Test graph, it's climbing one step at a time, and there can't be anything better for the team, because if your middle order is strong, whatever situation comes, you're confident that one guy will always put his hand up and take the team forward."

  • Rugby World Cup 2019: Japan boss Joseph 'so proud' of Brave Blossoms Rugby World Cup 2019: Japan boss Joseph 'so proud' of Brave Blossoms

    Jamie Joseph showed how much it hurt as Japan's journey at the Rugby World Cup ended with defeat at the merciless hands of South Africa.

    An absorbing tussle at Tokyo Stadium was only one-sided in the closing minutes as South Africa pulled away to win 26-3 and set up a semi-final against Wales next Sunday.

    After winning all four of their group games, and having beaten South Africa against all odds at the last World Cup, there were growing hopes in Japan that the tournament hosts could spring another surprise.

    It was not to be though, with South Africa's resolute defence repelling the threat of Japan's scintillating backs.

    Coach Joseph said: "At the end of the day I'm so proud of my team.

    "[They showed] the courage, the tenacity, certainly the determination. I really have to take my hat off to the team.

    "And I have to thank the fans - we wouldn't be here if we didn't have the support of the whole country. It's been marvellous."

    Joseph appeared to start welling up as his post-match television interview continued, adding: "We're really proud of what we've achieved at the World Cup. We're going to enjoy that a little bit later on.

    "I'm disappointed for the players because they give so much to the group and they gave so much to the country in this World Cup."

    With his voice faltering, Joseph, who succeeded Eddie Jones after the last World Cup, told the tournament interviewer: "It's been a little bit disappointing, mate."

    Captain Michael Leitch signed off his post-match interview with the comment: "Japan's only going to get stronger."

    That remains to be seen, but recent reports that Joseph could stay on as coach appear to offer promise.

    Leitch accepted the better side won the day, as the Brave Blossoms bowed out.

    "Test match rugby is all about creating opportunities and taking your moments," Leitch said.

    "I think we had a few opportunities to capitalise on and unfortunately South Africa kept us out, and with their powerful set-piece they had us going backwards.

    "Congratulations to the South Africa team - they played their A game and they played it very well.

    "I'm extremely proud of what this team's done - Jamie has done an excellent job. And the fans, the country ... I think we've done them proud."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.