Shona-Leah Weston eager to make the most of retirement U-turn

Shona-Leah Weston eager to make the most of retirement U-turn

Shona-Leah Weston returns to the Springbok Women's Seven squad this weekend to take on Australia, Canada, and Great Britain in the HSBC SVNS Perth.

Weston last played for the team in 2013 in Sao Paulo, and returns to the newest core team on the World Series determined to bring energy, composure, and experience to the squad's effort this weekend.

"We have a good squad here; there are strong leaders in the group and good players and the team's progress is on an upward curve," said Weston from Perth on Wednesday.

"For me, coming out of retirement to play for this team again, is such a positive experience and I cannot wait to take the field and bring that energy, composure, and experience."

For the 33-year-old to feel like a teenager again, one needs to take a step back in her interrupted career, which started when the Springbok Women's Sevens was a core team for first time in the 2012/13 season. Weston made her debut in Amsterdam a decade ago.

After also playing for the Springbok Women in fifteens, Weston stepped into a manhole and badly injured her ankle, which halted her career trajectory. When she returned, women's rugby was facing its own ebbs and flows - the XV's programme was put on ice and the sevens lost their core status.

But last year, with the Springbok Women's Sevens qualifying for the 2024 series, Weston's decision to come back from retirement was easy.

"Having been part of the squad before, it is great to be back here," she said. "I am really hoping to contribute so that everyone can see what we are capable of."

For co-captain Zintle Mpupha, having another senior player back in the squad is great news as she feels the squad lacked some direction in Cape Town last month following injuries to core players.

"We were just a bit thin at the end of that - I was injured in Dubai, so was Libbie (Janse van Rensburg), then in Cape Town, with leaders like Mathrin Simmers and Rights Mkhari also getting injured, we just lacked some composure," said Mpupha.

"That is what I hope to bring to the table this weekend, having recovered from the knock to the head in Dubai.

"Not only composure, but also self-belief. We put in the hard yards, now it is just a matter of applying that on field. We just need to treat each game on its merit, and we will reap the results."

Playing schedule (SA times):

Friday 26 January09h28: Australia14h04: Canada

Saturday 27 January05h32: Great Britain

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