Good times for Midlands rugby

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Good times are set to roll back for Midlands rugby with the re-emergence of former provincial powerhouses Shabanie Bulls and Ziscosteel.

Former National Rugby League (NRL) side Shabanie have now merged with Mimosa Mine — in an unusual marriage — to give birth to a new club, Shabanie Bulls who would be plying their trade in the Midlands-Matabeleland (Mid-Mat) Rugby League this year.

Ziscosteel, now powered by steel and iron smelting giant Essar Group, are also expected to assemble a formidable side to fight for NRL promotion in the Mid-Mat league.

Over the past years, rugby was virtually non-existent in the Midlands, but Gweru Sports Club (GSC)’s sensational return to the NRL triggered a new wave of interest in the sport.

The two clubs’ rejuvenation together with the re-establishment of the Midlands Rugby Board (MRB) which was relaunched late last year is expected to herald a new era in Midlands rugby.

MRB is chaired by Bulls manager Ganizani Ganizani from Mimosa and they are expected to hold their first meeting next week.

GSC player-coach Zwelonke Mloiswa who inspired his team to the NRL said the return of Shabanie and Ziscosteel could be a new script of a successful story in Midlands rugby.

“I think it is great that we have new clubs coming aboard. This could mark the coming back of great times in rugby in this province. Hopefully the clubs will do well,” said Mloiswa, a former Cheetahs player.