False start for rugby sides



Mikia Kalati

Lesotho Rugby league champions Giants lifting the inagural league championship in March this year
Lesotho Rugby league champions Giants lifting the inagural league championship in March this year

Lesotho champions, Giants, face Heilbron on Saturday hoping to play their first match of the 2015 Eastern Free State Amateur Rugby League campaign.

Giants were supposed to clash with Winburg last weekend, but the match had to be called-off after their opponents failed to turn-up for the tie.

The no-show resulted in the Lesotho outfit being awarded all the four points at stake, but according to Giants Public Relations Officer, Napo Mapuru, the cancellation was a blow to the players who had been looking forward to the match.

“We were supposed to play our first match last weekend, but our opponents, Winburg, failed to show up and Giants were awarded four points,” Mapuru said.

“The players have put that disappointment behind them and our focus now is on Saturday’s match in Heilbron, in which we are hoping to do well.”

However, Mapuru said the only challenge was Heilbron were a “closed book” to Giants.

“We have played against many Free State teams, but it will be the first time that we face Heilbron, so they are a closed book to us,” said Mapuru.

Maseru Select were also expected to be in action on Saturday, but their game against Winburg has since been called off after their opponents pulled out of the competition this week.

A member of Maseru Select, Litšisti Motšeremeli, told the Lesotho Times that the withdrawal had come as a disappointment to the five-team side. Maseru Select and Giants play in the South African league due to lack of competitive rugby in Lesotho.

“Although we are disappointed with this latest development, there is nothing we can do about it because it was their choice,” Motšeremeli said.

“We just have to keep working hard and wait for our next match because the players are really excited about competing in this South African league.

“The idea of playing in this (nine-team) competition is to gain the much-needed international exposure, as well as more game-time. We are confident that this tournament will help us achieve those goals, and take Lesotho rugby to a higher level.”

Meanwhile, the Federation of Lesotho Rugby has announced individual awards for the 2015 championship won by Giants early this month.

Liteboho ‘Cobra’ Mahase of Giants has been named ‘most valuable player’, while Mnikazi Setumo of Black Cobras is the winner of the best defensive player award. Topollo Phalatsi of NUL Spears was crowned ‘most improved player’.

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