The Vitality Roses got their Quad Series campaign off to a flying start against New Zealand last weekend and after an intense week of training, Tracey Neville’s team now face South Africa on Saturday.
England came from behind to beat the fifth-ranked side 45-42 in the previous meeting in September 2018.
We caught up with Rachel Dunn to get the lowdown on the mood in camp, South Africa’s strengths and her memories of facing the Proteas…
What’s the mood like in camp and how are preparations going?
“I think the mood in camp is good. Everyone’s recovered from Sunday, we’ve hit training hard again and now we’ve got a bit more recovery time before the double header this weekend. We’ve got two big games on Saturday and Sunday – it’s exciting! South Africa is up first and that’s our primary focus.”
What are South Africa’s main strengths?
“South Africa now have got a squad that’s got strength all over the court. Down the attack end, you’ve got two shooters that are now internationally recognised and both playing overseas – one in England, one in New Zealand. Their defence end is solid and they’ve got an experienced mid-court. England and South Africa have had some great battles over the years.”
What are your memories of playing against South Africa?
“I won my first ever cap against South Africa so I’ve got fond memories of playing against them because that’s quite a milestone! They’ve been tough opposition over the years and now I think they’re at the strongest they have been.”
How is it playing with Bongi Msomi at Wasps but against her for your respective countries?
“You’re glad you’re on the same club team when you play against her! But when she’s playing so well for the opposition, in terms of South Africa, we’re aware of the strength that she brings and her feeding ability, and she’s just fast.”