What Nelson Mandela University lacked in experience, they made up for in determination at the University Sport South Africa women’s sevens tournament in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The squad, with many of their players completely new to the sport, finished seventh overall and captain Inga Mbobo said she was proud of the team’s performance and could see great improvement since the start of the season.
“I’m really quite pleased with our performances because some of the girls only started playing in March, at the start of the season, and others only joined three months ago,” she said.
Having worked on their ball skills, fitness and overall health for hours on end, Mbobo said their aim had simply been to put it all into practice in their pursuit of delivering an exciting brand of rugby to their fans.
“We wanted to prove to ourselves that we could do it, and we definitely showed that.”
The 21-year-old, who hails from Soweto but now lives on the campus, credited head coach Tembelani Sibuta and assistant Lona Ntsila for their development.
The hosts, who entered two teams, started on a high note when their first team beat Walter Sisulu University’s B team 10-5.
Their second game, in which they went down 45-0 to University of Johannesburg, proved the greatest challenge of the day.
Mbobo said they knew what they would be up against, and the nerves had got the better of them.
“I think our fears really played with our mind and it caused us to make some mistakes.”
They suffered just one more defeat, to Fort Hare, before they came back to deliver a convincing 10-0 victory against Rhodes in their final group match.
Mbobo said there was still room for improvement – especially when it came to their passes – and was eager to continue working towards even greater heights.
University of KwaZulu-Natal were crowned champions after they pulled together to defeat Cape Peninsula University of Technology 32-0 in the final.