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National Rugby 7s off to eSwatini

Dec. 19, 2019 3 min read

MASERU - The national rugby sevens team is set to compete in this year’s edition of the eSwatini International Rugby Sevens Tournament to be held from December 21 to 22 December in Mbabane.

In an interview with Metro, the spokesperson of the Federation of Lesotho Rugby (FLR), Morapeli Motaung, said the team left the country on Thursday ahead of the tourney that commenced on Saturday and ended on Sunday. Motaung said the trip was financially backed by the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) through the Olympic Solidarity.

“Due to the unfortunate state of funds within the LSRC at the moment, we were lucky that there is still funding coming from Olympic Solidarity,” he said, revealing that they were still on the lookout for further injection of finances to jerk them up.Financial assistance from Olympic Solidarity and the FLR dates back to 2016 when the sevens rugby was launched, a growing section of the sport since then.

Motaung revealed that the sponsorship was for three years initially with the option of performance-based renewal.  “The sponsorship was renewed for a year in the past year and it might be renewed again depending on how we preform,” he explained. “The current situation of a financial crisis that has besieged the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) hinders some of our preparatory activities as federations in the country.

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“A clear example of this is this rugby sevens team which failed to camp due to lack of financial support from the LSRC as government’s executor of sports and recreation initiatives,” he said.Motaung, who is also the head coach of the national rugby sevens team, said the team had enough time to prepare for the tournament as they trained together for about four months. “We have been training together for four months and the players are so determined to display an outstanding performance,” he said.  Motaung was confident that they would still perform well even though seven of their players who competed in last year’s tournament would not make the trip this year due to work commitments.

“Among the 12 players who were part of the team last year, seven will not make the team this year, two of them now work in neighbouring South Africa while five have been called in this year’s intake of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) basic recruit military training,” he also showed.  He further indicated that they were yet to receive team participation list from eSwatini to see which countries had been invited to the forthcoming tournament.The Lesotho rugby sevens team displayed an impressive performance in the last two years, having won the International Rugby Sevens Cup this year. The tournament was held in Mantšonyane on the outskirts of Maseru in August.

The majority of the Lesotho rugby sevens team is made up of new players who will be making their debut international appearance in national colours at the tournament. In rugby sevens, a team is made up of seven players per team for battle inside the pitch – rugby sevens is a fast-growing sport in Lesotho lately. 

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