Martin Ngwenyama, whose position is left prop and plays a crucial role in the team, was thrilled about their performance and emphasised that the tournament provided them with a chance to compete and learn from other players.
"I am incredibly proud of my teammates. We gave it our all. As a developing team, we have demonstrated our strength. With more practice and game time, we will undoubtedly improve," he remarked.
UMP Sport and Recreation is dedicated to providing students with an environment that fosters a vibrant student life through sporting and recreational activities. Rugby, the world's most popular sporting code, was introduced at the university in July 2022, beginning as a recreational activity where students and staff members would gather on Wednesdays and Fridays to play a game of touch rugby and discuss their teams' future Super or Currie Cup victories.
The institution is a member of Varsity Sports, a high-performance competition that allows South African universities to compete in various sporting codes against one another. Athletics, hockey, football, netball, cricket, rugby sevens, basketball, and mountain biking are among the sports covered.
In 2019, UMP joined the existing universities that compete in the various sporting codes and competitions affiliated with Universities Sports South Africa (USSA).
The UMP Rugby team members are looking forward to more game time.
Building match experience
The UMP Rugby team was established last year after consulting with various stakeholders, including the Mpumalanga Rugby Union and Pumas. According to UMP lecturer and rugby coach Sisa Ngcwangu, the team is working on building match experience and will participate in the Mpumalanga Mayors League, which will enable them to host several home matches. "We are also looking forward to participating in the USSA games later in the year, for both sevens and fifteens."
Ngcwangu believes that UMP's goal is to provide access to a sport that is physical but is also built on the principles of integrity, passion, and solidarity, which are consistent with UMP's values.
"We began with two teams, one for females and one for males, with five and 13 active members, respectively. Since the beginning of 2023, we have expanded those numbers and have 10 active females and 20 active males, thanks to active player recruitment during registration in February 2023," Ngcwangu explained. "We plan to increase the numbers throughout the year until we have 36 active members for both genders," he added, noting that the team is still looking for more students to join.
"We welcome anyone who wants to try a new sport or has played rugby before, and we are open to teaching the necessary skills. There are also opportunities for some students to serve as officials, including referees and linesmen and women," Ngcwangu said.
Students interested to join the Rugby Team can be at the university's sports fields on: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays (between 15:30 and 16:45), or can contact the team manager, Qhawekazi Mdolomba on 066 353 9251.
@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures Supplied.