23 May 2012

Zimbabwe: South African Schools Rugby Sides to Tour Nation

THREE top South African schools rugby sides are set to tour Zimbabwe at the end of June where they will take part in a week-long Bushman Rock Africa rugby challenge against mostly Harare teams.

The games are being sponsored by safari company Bushman Rock Africa and will be held at the Nyamasanga River Valley, which is about 40km east of Harare.

Pretoria Boys High, St Andrews College from Grahamstown and South African College will take on local giants Churchill, Prince Edward, St John's College, St George's College and Chinhoyi outfit Lomagundi College.

Only Churchill and Lomagundi will play one game each while the rest of the local schools will play two games each against the South African schools and coaches from the respective local sides are happy with the development.

Junior rugby in Zimbabwe is starting to regain international confidence after the British Barbarians Under-18 squad toured Zimbabwe last year and played four local sides in the form of Zimbabwe Under-18, Lomagundi College, Harare Lions and the Goshawks Under-18 sides.

This was followed by Zimbabwe hosting the Under-19 Africa Cup, which they will again host this year and at the just-ended Cottco schools festival at Prince Edward two weeks ago, two South Africa Schools -- St Martins and Sarel Cilliers -- took part.

Prince Edward and national Under-18 coach, Godwin Murambiwa, is happy that South African Schools are beginning to take Zimbabwe seriously in rugby.

"We (Zimbabwe teams) were touring South Africa previously but now they (SA teams) are coming to Zimbabwe which is very good for our development.

"Playing in front of our local supporters is a good thing as that can expose some players who will play at the Craven Week as they will be in action.

"It is good to be recognised as one of the best nine teams in the country and having St Andrew's wanting to play against us.

"I am expecting some tough matches especially against St Andrews who are traditional rugby school. South Africa College can not be underrated as they can upset any team.

Murambiwa also welcomed team captain, Dexter Ganga, who has recovered from the injuries he sustained along with eight other teammates in a road accident in South Africa from their tour during the Easter Holidays.

"We welcome our team captain after that near fatal accident that left eight of our players injured and the players are recovering and Ganga played in our game against Falcon which we lost at the weekend and the development is good.

"Our challenge will be that about half our team was injured but we remain Tigers which is a brand in Zimbabwe schools rugby.

Murambiwa added that Craven Week selection begins today but there are few chances that players who had not impressed earlier would make it for the Under-18 schools side to South Africa.

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