Rugby's popularity increases

THIS year’s Dairibord Rugby Festival held at Prince Edward School saw an increase in the number of schools taking part in the sport from all four corners of the country.

Speaking to the Weekend Post, Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) director Bright Chivandire said the introduction of the sport in rural schools had a huge impact on the sport’s growth.

“We have moved to rural areas as the sport is meant for every child and everyone must be given a chance,” Chivandire said.

“We started with Mashonaland Central, the development was greatly appreciated and they participated very well and have improved.

“We are going to teach and educate other rural schools about the sport because in other areas the sport is not appreciated by parents especially with regard to a girl child for they regard it as a male sport or dangerous.”
?Zimbabwe Women’s Rugby coach, Abigail Kawonza said this year’s tournament was interesting and more schools participated.

“As a coach I notice talent and groom it therefore the interesting part is on selection and is going to be upon a lot of students from different schools unlike way back, where I used to take students usually from Harare,” she said.?“In every game we noticed some gaps and then we develop from those loopholes.”
?Kawonza encouraged children to take education seriously irregardless of their ability in sports.

“Everyone must excel both in education and sport and it must come first,” she said.

“I encourage all women in my team to work extra hard in education and I sometimes give school fees to those who face challenges.”

Chipindura High School coach Jonathan Kajowe said the rise in primary schools’ participation at this year’s rugby festival was great.

“If someone is taught rugby (at a) younger (age) it means that person can be one of the best players in the near future,” Kajowe said.

“Therefore, schools must keep on investing into children for tomorrow they will be able to represent our country.”
?Kajowe added that Mashonaland Central Province is going to have a rugby league.
?“Since rugby is now known in our province, we are trying to have our league therefore training of referees will be conducted at the school,” he said.

“Women participation is required so that they won’t be left out.”
?The highlight of this year’s festival came when St John’s College pulled off a stunning last minute 21-18 victory over Falcon College.

Falcon has been the leading rugby-playing school in Zimbabwe in the last few years and no one expected them to lose to the Rams.

However, Scott Gray’s side put on a spirited performance to match the Mad Dogs and posted a victory that sent shock waves across the country.

Churchill Bulldogs also ended the festival on a high note with a morale boosting 24-19 win over hosts and rivals Prince Edward Tigers.

While the Dairibord Rugby Festival was taking place, the Junior Sables were also in action at the World Rugby U20 tournament at Harare Sports Club.

Although Zimbabwe failed to win any of the four matches they played, the support for Brendon Brider’s side was immense from locals.

Samoa eventually won the tournament after defeating Spain in extra time’s sudden death in the final.— Kudzai Chipamuriwo

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