The Lion Lager National Rugby League kicks off today, with a potential thriller on the cards when defending Champions Red Seal Old Georgians host rivals Harare Sports Club in a repeat of last season’s final at Groombridge today.
The match kicks off at 4pm.
Red Seal Old Georgians have pitilessly dominated the local rugby landscape winning both the XVs league and the Sevens version of the game, in the process stealing the thunder from their rivals Harare Sports Club.
Sportivo, as Harare Sports Club are affectionately known by their fans, have in recent seasons done well throughout before choking at the final hurdle.
They will no doubt be seeking a change of fortunes this season.
In an interview with NewsDay Sport Sportivo coach Blessing Chiutare said his charges were ready for another crack at the championship.
“Obviously we have come close in the last couple of seasons, but we are remaining focused. We have prepared well for this match and believe the boys are ready. The match againist Old Georgians will obviously be very close, but we will just play our usual running rugby,” said Chiutare.
Sportivo will be boosted by the return of experienced duo of Danny Hondo and Tangai Nemadire, who were with the National Sevens Rugby team in Hong Kong.
Red Seal Old Georgians will also welcome old horses Jacques Leitao and Fortune Chipendu who were also in Hong Kong.
Grant Mitchell, the Old Georgians player/coach said he would be fusing younger players with experienced members of his squad.
“The players have worked hard during the pre-season. The long wait is now over and they are all raring to go. We have a number of youngsters who recently graduated from high school. We will be giving them a chance alongside the more senior players like our captain and vice-captain Jacques Leitao and Fortune Chipendu,” said Mitchell.
Some of the young players who will be given a chance today include lock Joshua Smallbones, flankers Shane Joubert and Daniel Rock, centre Andrew Wilkinson, prop Kuda Makuvire and winger Wilson Seremani.
Meanwhile, in other matches Old Miltonians face Harare team Old Hararians at Hartsfield rugby ground in Bulawayo.
Newly-promoted Gweru Sports Club, who took the place of relegated Mutare Sports Club, will introduce themselves into the top flight when they host Western Panthers.
Airforce, who survived relegation by a whisker last season, will be hoping to start the campaign on a high note when they engage Matabeleland Warriors early match at Old Georgians.