BEREA – Warriors delivered a statement performance ahead of the Econet Rugby League play-offs when they hammered Liqhomane 50 – 17 to continue their season’s unbeaten run at the Mabote Ground last Saturday. Warriors made the intentions clear from the first play, forcing their opponents to remain in their own half as they kept on knocking in search of an early try. Warriors’ efforts paid off in eight minutes when they scored the first try of the match, even though they failed to convert it.
They continued to dominate the play and scored their second try seven minutes later and converted it to put the score to 12-0. The unstoppable Warriors scored another try in the 20th minute and converted it. Liqhomane responded eight minutes later as they scored their first try of the match. But they failed to convert the try. Warriors continued with their rousing performance like nothing happened, scoring a try and conversion to put the score to 22-5 just before half time.
The second half was not just a physical affair like the first half, but was also entertaining. Liqhomane started to play an organized and contested rugby. But still, the army side could not match the mighty Warriors who continued their first half’s fine performance. Warriors scored three tries and conversions before Liqhomane could score their second try of the match and a conversion late in the second half. That was after Warriors missed a penalty in the opening minutes of the second half.
Warriors scored another try and a conversion very late in the game before Liqhomane scored their third try of the match to put the score-line to 50-17 after they missed the conversion. The game was the two teams’ last game of the league before the play-offs. Dates for the play-offs are yet to be announced. Warriors go to the play-offs sitting on pole position and Liqhomane on second spot. Liqhomane coach, Semethe Mosoeu, said his team played against Warriors without some of its key players.
“We rested some of our key players so that they could nurse injuries ahead of the play-offs,” said Mosoeu in a post-match interview with Public Eye last Saturday. Mosoeu further said: “That was also because we have already qualified for the play-offs together with Warriors, meaning we are going to meet them there as we will be competing for the championship and hence why it was important to for us save our key players.”
On the other hand, Warriors coach, Morapeli Motaung, said his team played according to plan. “We looked at the strength and realised that they are bodily and decided not to go shoulder to shoulder with them since our players have small bodies,” said Motaung. “So ours was just to play the ball in order for them to keep chasing.” Motaung said they had also taken the advantage of the fact that Liqhomane players could not mark switch passes.
“We were also aware that they could not mark switch passes, as they got frustrated every time when we made switch passes.” Warriors and Liqhomane will be joined by Mabote Beavers and NUL Spears in the play-offs. This was after Beavers and Spears finished on third and fourth-placed respectively on the now five-team Econet Rugby League log table. Warriors are on pole position while Liqhomane are runners-up.