Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Rugby giants brace for bruising semi finals encounter

When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. Things will be the same when four of Botswana’s rugby giants take on each other during the Rugby Cup SemiÔÇôfinals slated for the weekend.

The semifinals will pit the top four teams on the log, Gaborone Hogs, EMG Gunners, UB Rhinos and the BDF Cheetahs together to decide who will have a shot at the championship title.

All the four teams say they are ready for whichever team they may face in the semi-finals.
The first semi-final will pit log leaders, Gaborone Hogs, against fourth placed BDF Cheetahs.
The Hogs, who have had a very good season, will be looking to claim the Cheetah’s scalps to have a shot at the championship title.

On the other hand, Cheetahs, who proved in their last encounter against Gunners that they are no pushovers, will also be looking to have a shot at the championship which eluded them in the past year when Gunners beat them by a four point margin to claim the championship.

According to Hogs’ Barend Botha, his team goes into the semi finals with full intentions of continuing their season’s success.

He says apart from JJ Harris who will miss the game due to a slight injury, he will have his full strength squad ready to play. Botha says all the team members are expected at training on Monday to start preparing for the semi-finals.

Quizzed on the secret of his successful season, Botha says this is largely due to having a good technical team and very motivated players, a combination which he hopes will deliver the team a final sport and eventually the championship.

For his part, Modisa Kadimo of the BDF Cheetahs says they will be going into the game with only a win in mind.

Kadimo, who revealed his unhappiness with the referees, says their plan will be to defy all odds against them to claim a spot in the finals. He said his team has no major injuries going into the semis and says they are ready for any team.

Kadimo says after their narrow two points defeat at the hands of Gunners in their last encounter, they have been working hard to correct their mistakes. Meanwhile, the battle of the weekend will be in Selibi Phikwe where the league’s defending champions will take on the youthful UB Rhinos.
Buoyed by their 83ÔÇô0 humiliation of Ghetto Sharks over the past weekend, the Rhinos will fancy their chances against the Gunners.

Rhinos will rely on their speedy backpack to get them to the final they yearn for.
The team, which boasts of having at least 11 players in the national team, will be hoping to put one past their National team mentor and Gunners coach Neal Gouws.

Speaking to Telegraph Sport, Lesedi Keekae of the Rhinos says they are ready to take on any team. He says the team has been together for four years and they are very optimistic of winning a spot in the finals.

However, in Gunners, Rhinos will have to play above themselves if they are to get to the finals. The defending champions, who, through the guidance of Gouws rose from obscurity to claim the championship, are very keen on retaining their trophy.

With most of Rhinos’ players under his mentorship in the national team, Gunners may just have Rhinos’ numbers. With rugby being a contact sport, a bruising battle is on the cards and whoever holds the most aces will make the finals.


Read this week's paper