Zimbabwe: Rugby Unions, Schools in Partnership

ZIMBABWE Under-20 rugby committee has enlisted Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) to help in bridging their relationship with the schools following the Young Sables' failure to qualify for the 2014 Junior World Rugby Trophy (JWRT) finals.

The 2014 JWRT qualifiers, which also served as the Junior Africa Cup finals, were held in Nelspruit, South Africa last week.

Zimbabwe, who finished third to avoid relegation from the Junior Africa Cup Division 1A, beat Madagascar 21-3, but fell 20-19 to Kenya.

The Under-20 brand Committee chairman Arnold Jani attributed the team's poor show to the withdrawal of several players who had taken part at the Craven Week due to academic commitments.

"We will ask ZRU to help us in explaining to the schools the importance of the kids playing for their country. There is great need to build a strong relationship with the schools. If we had gone with our strongest side, I don't think we would have failed to qualify," he said.

Team manager Blessing Chiutare echoed the same sentiments, saying the team they ended up arguing with had the talent, but lacked experience.

"It is unfortunate that some of our first choice players withdrew. This made selection difficult for the coaches, but they had to make do with what was available.

"The players chosen did very well, but clearly lacked the experience which those players who withdrew had by virtue of having played at the Craven Week. In the opening game against Kenya, we were leading 15-10 at half time, but ended up losing the game. That was a sign of inexperience," he said.

"We had a very good technical team in forwards coach Jef Madhaki, backline coach Marlin Chirume, fitness trainer Danny Hondo and the head coach Sykes Sibanda. I am glad that about eight players of the current team will still be around for the 2015 JWRT qualifiers," he said.

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