LADYBRAND — Lesotho rugby’s inexperience was exposed in front of an appreciative “home” crowd in Ladybrand as they played against Marquard on Saturday.
Looking to build on their close match in Qwaqwa, the Basotho in blue went down valiantly to the technically and tactically superior South African team.
Lesotho were hoping that strength and fitness would be enough to make up for their status as a new club with a number of beginners filling the team sheet.
The tone of the game was set from the kick off, with Lesotho fumbling the ball and giving away a penalty from the ensuing scrum. Only some excellent last man defending from debutant Calvin Alize prevented the visitors taking an immediate lead.
They did not, however, have to wait long. Lesotho were unsure in defence, committing too many men in the breakdown to rucks that were not there for the taking, and leaving large overlaps which Marquard were quick to exploit.
Their line out also let them down, especially after the exit of key player Kgauhelo Raphepheng from the game.
But one thing the home side could not be found wanting of was heart and aggression. Early in the first half it became clear that Lesotho was playing more for pride than victory.
Big hits in defence from Ian Brooke, together with committed forward running from Lisitso and Relebohile Motjamela saw Lesotho march up the field before a penalty gave them a chance to register some points.
Unfortunately the kick ricocheted off the wrong side of the post.
At this point it looked like their heads might drop as Marquard kept up the pressure and ran in a number of tries.
The second half began badly for Lesotho, with confusion in the line up meaning just 13 players began the second half and Marquard quickly took advantage of their two man overlap.
From there Lesotho began to stem the tide. Helped with a large squad and good fitness levels they began to put pressure on the tiring Marquard.
Following a string of majestic charges from the front Lesotho were rewarded with a penalty on the five-metre line, which saw Rethabile Sekola break through for his second try in two games.
Lesotho emerged battered and bloodied but defiant. Their lack of resources was all to obvious by the number of ripped polo shirts they had been playing in. They had certainly taken a beating, but held their heads high, proud of the efforts they had put in.