”I want to be a great example and represent my country well so that more and more overseas clubs can start to see South African rugby and pay more attention to South African rugby because there’s plenty of talent and potential,” says Springbok Women’s player, Babalwa Latsha.
She has set the bar sky high and in the process has broken records and barriers when she became the first South African female rugby player to be signed by an overseas team, thus making her the first pro player.
A new era for women’s rugby is on the horizon and it should be the perfect platform and launching pad for any aspiring players who want to hit the big time in their rugby careers.
The 26-year-old, from Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, secured a professional contract earlier this year to play for Spanish women’s rugby team SD Eibar Femenino. This also makes her the first African woman in the sport to go pro.
The former Western Province player was scouted by a Spanish scouting agency while she was on duty for the Springbok Women’s team during a match against Spain in Septmember last year. It is a great achievement for the law student, who is enrolled at the University of Western Cape, to be able to showcase her talents in Europe.
Speaking to EWN Sport, Latsha stated: “The key thing now, what I’m looking to achieve now that I’m playing overseas is that I’d like to have a strong, positive influence on our own South African rugby, to be a positive catalyst of some changes within our systems. I’m looking forward to bringing the knowledge that I will acquire here back home and hopefully growing our rugby, but also have some personal achievement to put in some great performances for my club.”
She continued by saying: “I want to be a great example and represent my country well so that more and more overseas clubs can start to see South African rugby and pay more attention to South African rugby because there’s plenty of talent and potential. And those just need to be seen. If I put up great performances, it will attract more attention from professional clubs to South Africa.”
Latsha, who never knew that she would become a rugby player, as she was more involved in athletics and soccer, having a love for shot-put and javelin throwing, came across rugby in Khayelitsha for the very first time. But it was only at university that she really became interested in the sport and started playing it.
The South African Women’s team has been playing since 2004 and has already participated in three World Cups. And Latsha should be the first name selected for the team that will participate in the 2021 World Cup in New Zealand. The global showpiece will take place between September 18 and October 16.
Latsha has also been the Springbok Women’s captain in the absence of Nolusindiso Booi, who was out injured. Latsha has been massively impressive in Spain and had her contract renewed. She scored a mammoth 13 tries in seven games.
Success is a feeling, a feeling of accomplishment. Latsha has taken the front seat in opening an eye for South African talent on the global scale. She has enhanced the reputation of South African Women’s rugby players and provided a gateway for every girl, woman, to achieve anything that they set their minds to.