Home Sport I want to dominate my opponent, says Sanelisiwe Charlie

I want to dominate my opponent, says Sanelisiwe Charlie

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Sanelisiwe Charlie certainly had ambitions of playing for the Springbok women, but she did not see herself being part of the World Cup squad due to more experienced players who were already in the national set-up.

Sanelisiwe Charlie certainly had ambitions of playing for the Boks, but she did not see herself being part of the Rugby World Cup squad.
Sanelisiwe Charlie certainly had ambitions of playing for the Boks, but she did not see herself being part of the Rugby World Cup squad. Picture: SA Rugby

Johannesburg – Springbok women loosehead prop Sanelisiwe Charlie might not have seen herself representing South Africa, but when they opened their World Cup campaign against France, she felt right at home.

Charlie certainly had ambitions of playing for the Boks, but she did not see herself being part of the World Cup squad due to more experienced players who were already in the national set-up.

“I was 19 or 20 at the time and just starting out with my rugby career. The Springbok Women also had established players in my position, so I did not really see myself being part of that group,” Charlie said.

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In 2021, when coach Stanley Raubenheimer named his first national squad since a break enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic, Charlie made the squad to face Kenya in two Tests in Stellenbosch. She was named on the bench in the first Test and then started at tighthead in the second for her international debut.

Another call-up followed for the November tour to Europe, and although she was not used in the two Tests against France and Wales, Charlie got a run against the England Under-20s and Barbarians in the final two matches of the tour.

Charlie admitted that it was discouraging when Raubenheimer named his first squad for 2022 and she was not included. She was also omitted from the second camp, as the coaches were not happy with the feedback of her conditioning data.

“That was a tough time for me,” Charlie said.

“But thanks to the support of my family, I worked harder and harder and I was delighted to be called back into the squad for the African Cup.

“I did not play though, but I did get a call-up against Japan, which gave me hope again to make it to New Zealand (for the World Cup). When the squad was finally announced and I was in, there was real excitement, but even then, I did not think I was going to start against France.”

On the Boks’ World Cup-opener, she said: “I can really look back at this day for a long time. Here I was, being part of the opening match of the World Cup and when the action began, I felt at home.

“The knowledge that I can compete at this level was just such a boost and for me the biggest achievement of my life. Look, no prop scrums alone, so it is not about me, but it was great to force my opponent to concede penalties and for our forwards to enjoy dominance over a highly-rated French pack.

“I did my part around the field, even had a run and really enjoyed myself out there. I played almost 70 minutes in total and enjoyed every one of them.”

SA will face Fiji on Sunday, but regardless of the opposition the goal remains the same for the front-rower.

“I want to dominate my opponent; I want to secure penalties for my team,” Charlie said.

“And I want to assist in mauls, make tackles, and carry the ball. The nice thing about all of that is that I can do so with my team and when we play together, we get things done.”

The squad to face Fiji will be announced Thursday.

@WynonaLouw

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