Zimbabwe Rugby Union in partnership with a local sports events management company, Dominus Sport, will host a regional rugby Sevens tournament in March in a move meant to add a professional marketing approach to the Sevens rugby brand, NewsDay Sport can reveal.
Dominus Sport have successfully organised the last three editions of the Stanbic Bank Twenty20 cricket tournaments for Zimbabwe Cricket and Zimbabwe Rugby Union now seem to also have entered into a marriage with the same company to develop the shorter version of the game.
Local retail giant Spar, who are the current Cheetahs sponsors, will be flagship sponsors for the tournament dubbed the Spar International Sevens, having also bankrolled the Spar Summer Sevens series for local clubs.
In fact, local Sevens rugby fans will have a chance to brace for the regional tournament by following the Spar Summer Sevens Series on February 11 at Old Georgians.
David Crouch, the sponsorship manager at Dominus Sport, told NewsDay Sport that the inaugural edition of the highly anticipated tournament would take place from March 3-4 at Harare Sports Clubs cricket field in a move that is meant to accommodate more fans.
We are still in the process of finalising all logistics with all relevant stakeholders, but I can confirm the dates for the tournament have been set for March 3-4.
At the moment we have engaged Spar and they are likely going to be the title sponsors for the tournament, but information regarding the participating teams will all be available in due course, said Crouch.
Some of the teams expected to compete in the tournament include Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, the Emerging Springboks of South Africa and a number of South African provincial sides.
The national Sevens rugby team, the Cheetahs, will use the regional tournament to prepare for the Hong Kong leg of the IRB Sevens World series which has been set for March 23-25.
In recognition for their recent improvement on the international stage, the Cheetahs will also for the first time, take part in two more legs on the IRB Sevens World Series circuit in Scotland (May 5-6) and England (May 12-13) in what is seen as a move towards becoming a core team.
Recent developments to host a regional tourney look set to be a huge boost for the Cheetahs, who will be hoping to qualify for the 2013 Rugby Sevens World Cup in Moscow, Russia, and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.