The Herald (Harare)

16 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Tournament Awakens Gweru Sports Club

ACTION moves to the Midlands today where Gweru Sports Club host their first high-profile rugby tournament in more than a decade as they entertain teams from the Southern Region. This will be the second leg of the tournament that kicked off last week with the first edition of the national Sevens trials that are meant to select players for the national and sides.

With Zimbabwe set to host the Spar Zimbabwe International Tournament at the beginning of next month, the Sevens Summer Series format was changed to pick the Cheetahs and Goshawks sides that will represent the country at the second edition of the competition. Previously, the tournament only involved teams from Harare with Mutare coming in as the only team from outside the capital.

But according to Cheetahs' committee chairman, Donald "Brasco" Mangenje, the new format is meant to facilitate for an open selection of the Cheetahs and Goshawks sides.

This year there won't be a winner in the series because clubs will only play in one of the tournaments after it was divided into regions namely the Southern Region and the Northern region. The first leg was held last weekend at Old Hararians where three squads were picked and the same will happen in Gweru this afternoon where two sides will be picked before two more rounds of action between the selected players as they compete for the 24 final places.

The Southern Region involves teams from Bulawayo, Midlands and Masvingo and this means that Panthers, Mat'land Warriors, Old Miltonians, Shabanie, and Masvingo will grace Gweru.

"From each of the regions we are going to pick two teams and this gives us a total of four teams where we are going to randomly put the players into any of the teams for the Probables against Possibles game and mix the players on March 2," said the former Sables and Cheetahs scrum half.

The last two tournaments will be played at Harare Sports Club on February 23 with the final leg also at the same venue a week later where the final 24 - for both the Cheetahs and Goshawks - will be announced.

Some of the Cheetahs and top-class players who will turn out for Bulawayo sides include Wensley Mbanje, Kilvan Magunje, Japhet Ndebele, Lucky Sithole and Cleopas Makotose who moved from Harare Sports Club to Matland Warriors a few weeks ago.

The Harare leg of the tournament was dominated by giants Old Georgians and bitter rivals Harare Sports Club dominated the squad with a total of 27 players. utare chipped in with one player in the form of Kudzai Kwenda while Airforce failed to pitch up for the season opener.

The same is expected to happen in Gweru where Bulawayo giants and National Rugby League runners-up Mat'land Warriors and Panthers are expected to dominate the league selection.

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