Sunday, March 26, 2023

National Rugby 7s teams ready for Castle 7s Tournament

The Botswana Rugby 7s men and women’s teams will this weekend take part in the Zambian Castle 7s tournament billed for Lusaka.

The teams are expected to leave for Zambia on Friday morning for the games that are set to resume on Saturday morning.

Speaking in an interview with Telegraph Sport, the coach of the women’s Rugby 7s National team, Shaun Lees, said they are expecting a tough battle ahead.

Lees, however, says he expects his charges to do better than they did this year. The Rugby ladies mentor’s optimism is fuelled by his knowledge that his charges know exactly what lies ahead.

“Most of these players took part in last year’s competition and they know exactly what is needed of them,” Lees told Telegraph Sport. He further said going into the competition last year, they had to compete against opponents who had at least 7 years experience ahead of them.

He, however, believes that their participation last year opened their eyes and they are now ready.
The women’s coach went on to say that the practise sessions they have had since the 27th of July have helped them work on their shortcomings. He says while it is true that local athletes do not usually have big physical build for contact sports like rugby, they have worked hard on areas like strength and endurance to make up for this.

Unlike its full fifteen aside version, the Rugby 7s is a game more characterised by speed than contact and this may also bode well for the local girls.

The women’s team will, however, be wary of the danger posed by the physically well built and agile Zambian team, which will also be boosted by home ground advantage.
While the Botswana 7s women’s team is a talented team in entirety, the coach will have to look up to players like Masego Aston, Keabetswe Molefi, Naledi Chabe and Tjeludo Monyai to win the tournament.

While he believes players will have no problem acclimatising, Lees is of the view that it would have been good to go earlier than Friday as this would help them look at the status of the fields they are to play and train on.

Meanwhile, the men’s Rugby 7s team has a mountain to climb if they are to make an impact at the same tournament come this Saturday. With the core of the team made up of players who recently competed in the rugby league finals and the Rugby 7s tournament, the team, which has been in camp for only a week may be found wanting.

However, the team’s coach Mmoloki Ramakele says they will give the tournament all their best.
Ramakele will however take pleasure in knowing that most of his charges are aware of the challenges lying ahead. The team will have to rely heavily on the experiences of team captain Kabo Batsile, Onamile Tshimologo as well as the versatile and speedy Tshoganetso “Shakes” Katse to get them through.

The coach will also be hoping that his other influential player, Eddie Ernest, who has a niggling injury, recovers well ahead of the tournament. To prepare for the rigours of the tournament, Ramakele says they have worked hard on the fitness, speed and recovery of the players. This, he says, will be essential to the success of the team, more especially as they are expected to play at least six games a day. Just like the women’s team coach, Ramakele says it would have been nice to go before Friday as their first game will be on Saturday morning but says they will have to adapt to the conditions.


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