The Wits women’s rugby team learnt valuable lessons on the rugby pitch at this year’s tournament.

The Wits’ women’s sevens team was knocked out in the bowl semi-finals of the University Sport South Africa (USSA) women’s rugby tournament on Saturday, September 28, at the University of Johannesburg.

It was the team’s first time participating in a national tournament since its formation in July this year.

The Wits women’s team lost 0-5 to the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) B team, putting them at the bottom of the pool consisting of the University of Pretoria’s Delta Drone Tuks, WSU A and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s women’s rugby team.

The Witsies lost their first three games, failing to register a single try. In their first game, WSU A racked up 25 points against Wits, while CPUT secured a 17-0 victory over the women from Braamfontein in their second game. Reigning champions, Delta Drone Tuks, thumped the Wits team 34-0 in their third game.

The Wits women’s sevens team, however, managed to dominate the pitch in their bowl quarter-final game, thrashing Sol Plaatje University 29-7.

“We actually did very well, we were in a tough pool,” said Wits rugby club manager Ferdinand Kelly. He said he was proud of the team’s play, considering that they were competing against teams with several years’ worth of experience.

Kelly said a lot of the players had little playing experience and that the tournament had exposed them to making contact with different players, as well as getting a “physical feel” for the game.

Khanya Makhothi, a first-year biokinetics student, captained three of the Wits games. “As first timers, we did well. The next step is to make a name for ourselves by partaking in a rugby league, recruiting more players and keeping female rugby alive in Wits for a very long time,” she said.

Makhothi, who has provincial rugby experience, said, “We should improve on our support play [and not be] afraid to make tackles.

“My highlight of the tournament was playing against Tuks because it’s a respected university in sevens rugby for females and playing against them was an honour,” added Makhothi, who alternates between playing scrum-half and fly-half.

Delta Drone Tuks captain and women’s rugby coordinator, Libbie Janse van Rensburg, said people should not “underestimate” the amount of preparation Tuks women rugby players go through before tournaments.

“We take our playing really seriously. The team practises between two to four times a week,” she said.

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits women’s sevens rugby team hopes to get even bigger and better in upcoming seasons. Photo: Provided