Mabote Beavers are the 2023/2024 Econet Rugby Championship winners after thrashing Liqhomane 30-15 in the final, dethroning erstwhile champions, Maseru Warriors in the process.
With Liqhomane settling for second place, Maseru Warriors scooped bronze for finishing third after defeating Rugby Academy 38-29 in the third-place playoff last weekend.
Liqhomane reached the final by overpowering Rugby Academy 31-28, while the Beavers edged Maseru Warriors 12-13 loss at the Makoanyane Barracks Ground earlier this month.
Having narrowly edged their respective opponents in the semi-finals, Mabote Beavers and LDF’s Liqhomane then set up a blockbuster final at the Moshoeshoe II Mejametalana Airbase Ground.
And the final match of the season did not disappoint with Mabote Beavers coming out on top.
Following his side’s massive win, Mabote Beavers coach, Letsielo Mabitle said his players’ intelligence prevailed over Liqhomane’s physically imposing players.
“Our disadvantage is lacking physically powerful players compared to Liqhomane, but we have intelligent players. It was not a walk in the park, we worked hard so that, at the end of the day, we emerged the winners,” Mabitle said.
In response to their loss, Liqhomane coach, Semethe Mosoeu said every final is expected to be tough, and this was not an exception.
“It was a tough match because these two teams have qualified to play in the final, proving themselves beyond any doubt that they are both teams to beat. But the spirit was very high at our camp, and my players were determined to win,” said Mosoeu.
On the end-of-season awards, the Econet Rugby Championship 2023 Player of the Season Award went to the champions’ 21-year-old Sekhola Phate, also the top try scorer of the season as he touched down 17 times this season.
Also gracing the event was the British High Commissioner to Lesotho, Harry Macdonald, who also got an opportunity to officiate the match between Maseru Warriors and Rugby Academy.
The five-team championship is sponsored by telecommunications company, Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL). NUL Spears failed to make the final four teams to battle it out for the top honours.