This weekend's Lesotho Sevens is ideal preparation for the participating international teams to sharpen their skills and get minutes in the legs ahead of the Africa Sevens Tournament in Tunisia next month.
The Mountain Kingdom will play host to Africa sevens powerhouses Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, while hosts Lesotho and Botswana will also be in the mix. Two teams from South Africa will also take part, with the Blue Bulls and a South Africa All-Stars team competing at the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru on Saturday and Sunday.
The Zambians are the favourites heading into the tournament after they beat the Blue Bulls in the final of the Zambia Sevens in Lusaka two weekends ago. However, Zimbabwe will be hoping for a repeat performance in 2018 after winning the tournament in 2017.
Namibia will also be hoping for a good showing to prepare for the Africa Sevens, which is an avenue into the next year's Hong Kong Sevens. However, Lesotho, who were beaten in the third-place playoff in 2017, will be looking for the home support to carry them into the final this year following a strong showing in the inaugural event.
Lesotho team manager Morapeli Motaung said they took some valuable lessons out of last year's tournament and worked on various aspects of their game ahead of their home tournament. Lesotho have worked on their defence and decision-making on attack.
"Last year we played well and finished fourth out of 10 teams," Motaung told Lesotho Sports Blizz.
"We worked on our tackling and long-range passing. We also realised that we need players with size to compete with the other countries."