Maseru Select storm into final

Maseru Select storm into final

MASERU – After their historic feats last weekend, Maseru Select are buzzing ahead of their first-ever Griffons Rugby Eastern Free State League final on Saturday in Ladybrand.
Last Saturday, Maseru Select shocked the league by defeating defending champions and Eastern Free State juggernauts Bethlehem Oud-Skoliere 34-20 to seal Lesotho’s first appearance in a Griffons League final.

Maseru Select had already achieved Lesotho’s best performance since joining the league in 2012 by reaching the last four but they were not content with their success and produced a swashbuckling display in the semis at Phuthaditjhaba Stadium in Qwa-Qwa to outclass their vaunted opponents.
Now, with immortality in sight, spirits are higher than ever in the Maseru Select camp.
Federation of Lesotho Rugby (FLR) spokesperson Morapeli Motaung hailed the team as they prepare to surmount one final hurdle on the way to what would be an unexpected glory.
“We beat the defending champions to make it to the final,” Motaung enthused.

“I think they have won the title three times in a row and they beat us twice in the early stages (of this league season).
“But we met again in the semi-finals and we beat them. I think we were struggling at the beginning (of the season) with changes to the team but now we have momentum.”
The Griffons League is a 10-team championship contested by clubs from South Africa’s Free State province with Maseru Select as a guest team.
Maseru Select is made up of the top players from teams in the local rugby premier league — Maseru Warriors, Mabote Beavers, National University of Lesotho Spears, LDF Liqhomane and Giants Rugby.

Motaung said the team does not need any extra motivation going into Saturday’s final against Ladybrand Rugby Club.
He said Maseru Select are banking on the impetus gained from their semi-final triumph over Bethlehem Oud-Skoliere despite potentially going up against the whole town of Ladybrand in the finale.

“The competition has risen (in the league), it is really good, we are playing big teams that are representing their towns,” Motaung said.
“You realise the team we played last weekend was representing Bethlehem. If you play a team from Ladybrand they are representing the whole town. It is the same with the team from Ficksburg.
“Some of these teams have experienced players in their squads, their coaches are very experienced and some played rugby at a higher level,” he added.

This season’s Griffons League has also been a success for the FLR by being a breeding ground for the next generation of potential Lesotho stars.
The oldest member of the Maseru Select squad is 27 years while the youngest is 18 and the main purpose of using a youthful squad has been to identify future players for the national team, Likatola.
“It is important to already select (new) players unlike waiting for the older players to decline,” Motaung said.
In the immediate future, Maseru Select — hurting bodies or not after a tough old season — are raring to go for one more go.
“We have a few injury concerns but we will get a report and see if there are other injuries, but the injuries from last week were not serious,” Motaung said.
“The mood is high among the players right now after winning (last week) and everybody is looking forward to the final.”

Luciah Phahla

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