Rugby dust off cobwebs to prepare 7s team

Aiming higher: Rugby action returns after a long lay-off. PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Aiming higher: Rugby action returns after a long lay-off. PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO

Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) is running against the clock to prepare a team for the Africa 7s tournament scheduled for January. The tournament will be played in Mauritius between January 22 and 23, 2022. The tournament is for return to play and rankings.

BRU president, Sean Irish told Mmegi Sport that training is starting next week and the aim is to challenge for the 7s championship title and believes it is achievable. He said the 7s World Cup has already been done when sport was suspended in Botswana.

“Clubs should have started training. Due to the physicality of the sport, we need to get conditioned so we plan to start club rugby in February,” he said.

Meanwhile, the situation remains the same at UB Rhinos. The club was relegated to the President Cup due to the departure of players, with some quitting the game altogether. Rhinos coach, Khina Masinki said nothing much has changed from last season.

“We just want to play BRU 7s tournaments to complete the year. Then next season we would go back to Super Rugby. We would also take stock of our players and see how we could play our positions to meet the required positional quota. Our biggest enemy is player migration,” Masinki said.

He said the situation might get worse for the club soon because senior schools have not played sport in three years.

Gaborone Hogs coach, Shaun Lees said his side started safe return to play training three weeks ago. Lees said they are in phase one training with non-contact sessions. He said they are moving to semi-contact soon.

“The players are excited to be back. I have many youngsters coming through so, I am happy about that. Some players have not turned up yet because they know that we are doing a lot of fitness. Fitness levels have picked up quite considerably. We are focusing a lot on fitness and ball skills because it has been two years since we last had serious training but you can see the rust in the players. It would get better with time,” Lees said.

He said having a large pool of players means they could still field first, second and reserve teams for men and the Under-19 development team. Lees said women are coming for training but not enough yet to form a full squad.

“We are resuming our Saturday morning sessions for our Hogs development teams this weekend. This is a very popular session so, I am expecting a large number of players to sign up,” he said.

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Keep your mask close

Wearing of masks behind closed doors has been mandatory following the government’s August decision that the public was freed from masking in outdoor spaces.According to a press statement from the ministry, all other remaining COVID-19 protocols such as social distancing in schools and requirements for vaccination or PCR tests at ports of entry have also been relaxed.Statistics still show that hundreds still die daily due to the pandemic around...

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