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Army recruitment hampers Sevens Rugby team preps

Leemisa Thuseho

LESOTHO Rugby Sevens’ team preparations for the 2019 eSwatini Rugby Sevens International Tournament have suffered after the team had to release six players who have embarked onto an army recruitment course starting last Monday.

The eSwatini tournament runs from the 20th to the 21st of December 2019.

Among the six Lesotho Defence Force recruits are three wingers; Bokang Ncheke, Lebohang Ntšinyi and Lehlohonolo Mohasi. The other three are scrum-half Karabo Mphaki and two forwards, Keketso Sejake and Motheo Mokhothu.

The team’s head coach Morapeli Motaung told the Sunday Express that in as much as this was good news for the players, his team has taken a hard knock.

“We had already started our preparations for the eSwatini tournament and now that these six players are gone, I am bound to call new faces into the squad,” Motaung said.

“The six were my key players in the squad and I must say this is a huge blow for the team because out of the remaining seven players, two are unlikely to travel to eSwatini due to work commitments.

“I need at least 12 players; thus, I have already requested for more players from the clubs to replace those who have left.”

Motaung said the other challenge that he is facing is that the domestic league is currently on a break which means that most of their players are inactive.

“We are left with just a few days before the tournament begins, but we will work hard to ensure that the new players quickly jell with the rest of the team, even though it’s not going to be easy,” he said.

The players were part of the team that won the Rugby Africa Sevens, Southern Region tournament in Lesotho in August this year. This was country’s first ever Rugby Sevens team to win a trophy.

The same players also represented Lesotho at the 2019 Zambia Sevens International Rugby Tournament in Lusaka in September. They finished sixth out of 10 in Zambia.

The eSwatini tournament will be Lesotho Sevens’ third and last tournament this year. The Lesotho Rugby Sevens national team was established in 2017.

“I am impressed with how the team fared this year. We won one tournament and our general performance improved compared to last year,” Motaung said.

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