Local rugby giants Old Georgians (OGs) will be out to stretch their unbeaten run in local Sevens tournaments when they host the opening leg of the three-legged Spar Summer 7s series at Groombridge today.
A total of 12 teams — Old Hararians, OGs, Harare Sports Club (HSC), Old Miltonians, Western Panthers, Gweru
Sports Club, Busters, Shabanie Bulldogs, Mutare Sports Club, Mbare, Police and Air Force — have confirmed participation in the tournament.
The home side will go into the tournament as favourites after they completed a clean sweep of the three-legged series last year without losing a single match before going on to win the National Rugby League for the second successive year.
In an interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday, OG player/coach Grant Mitchell said his team’s preparations had gone very well and he was looking forward to the challenge.
“Our preparations for this tournament have gone very well. Obviously defending our title won’t be that easy.
There will be a lot of pressure on us to maintain the form we showed last season, but the unique aspect about Sevens rugby is that this will totally be a different ball-game. We will have to take it one match at a time and see how it goes,” Mitchell said.
The Dragons, as OGs are affectionately known, will be missing the services of livewire winger Kuda Chiwanza and giant loose forward Njabulo Ndlovu. Chiwanza is now based at the Sharks Academy in South Africa while Ndlovu has been doing well for the University of Western Cape in the Varsity Shield.
They, however, still boast one of the strongest sides in the country led by skipper Jacques Leitao, Fortune Chipendu, Jo Nicholls, Liberty Mutowonzi and Dylan Bradshaw.
While OGs go into the tournaments as favourites, they can expect some fierce competition from their main rivals HSC.
Sportivo also boast of national Sevens players Tangai Nemadire and Daniel Hondo and speedster Tafadzwa Mhende who is trying to revive his Sevens game after recovering from a career-threatening injury while on national duty in Zambia two years ago.