The University of Johannesburg women’s team are one of four sides who will be vying for the Varsity Sevens rugby title in Johannesburg next month.
The event, which takes place at the Pirates club on October 4 and 5, includes a women’s category for the first time.
UJ will join University of Pretoria, University of KwaZulu-Natal and University of Fort Hare in the tournament and team manager Tumi Leseke said the small group would definitely make the competition tougher.
“But we are going in all guns blazing. Winning is always ideal but a top-two finish wouldn’t hurt either,” she said.
“We are also in it to learn because not many female teams get this honour. We want to absorb everything we can, whether it is on the field or on the sidelines as the management.”
In their training this year, Leseke added that the student-athletes had been pushed “beyond what they themselves had even thought possible”.
“Physically we are where we need to be to reach our goal, but like our coach Mbuyiselo [Siqebengu] says, our strength lies in the team’s unity.
“That can take us further than we have ever been. If we can believe in each other, trust the process, stick to our structures and learn from our mistakes, the sky is only the beginning.”
She said it was essential for the team to maintain an upward trajectory.
“We do not want to be at the same level come this time next year. We want to be even better.
“We are treating this tournament as a measuring stick to see where we can improve and to mark how far we have come this year.”
Leseke said they would receive an ideal warm-up for the event when they competed in the University Sport South Africa event on September 28 at the UJ West Sports Fields.
With a squad containing plenty of depth, she added it would be interesting to see the performance of their latest recruit, Nthabiseng Ncalane, part of the national U20 team who won an international tournament in Zimbabwe.
“We also have Voice Ndou, who was in the USSA team for the World Student Games, and Lesego Malebadi, a member of the WEPRU team [SA B side] who played in the Dubai HSBC sevens in 2018.”