Harare Sports Club (HSC) have vowed to come back stronger from last week’s defeat to Matabeleland Warriors when they take on perennial rivals Old Hararians (OH) in a potentially explosive Lion Lager National Rugby League derby at the Lion’s Den today.
The Red Lions, as Harare Sports Club are affectionately known, last week suffered their only defeat of the season after going down 29-28 to Matabeleland Warriors at Hartsfield.
However, coach Blessing Chitaure believes last week’s loss was just a minor setback and has vowed to come back stronger in today’s derby.
“As you know, a wounded lion is more dangerous and we will work hard to ensure we avoid another defeat. We have put in a lot of hard work this week and we want to make sure we retain our place at the top of the log by winning tomorrow’s (today’s) match.”
“All the players are fit and raring to go and there won’t be any major changes except for Kuda Kambasha, who returns to the team after missing last week’s match,” said Chitaure.
In the reverse fixture in April, Harare Sports Club overpowered OH 24-19 in an exciting rugby league match.
Old Hararians, who have struggled against their rivals in recent seasons, were on the winning end last weekend, although they were not convincing in their 37-22 win over Panthers.
Old Hararians team manager Simba Kaka said his side would not be reading too much into their performance from the previous encounter.
“What happened the last time we met is now history because every game has to be treated on its own merit.
“We have done our best to make sure we are prepared for the match and hopefully we will do well. In terms of injuries, we will be missing lock Kundai Hatendi due to an ankle injury, but all the other guys are raring to go,” said Kaka.
Harare Sports Club are currently setting the pace on the log standing with 45 points from 10 matches, six points ahead of second-placed Matabeleland Warriors while OH is in third place on 35 points.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s Under-20 lock horns with Russia in the battle of the worst teams at the Junior World Rugby Trophy in the US hoping to avoid the embarrassment of finishing as the worst team at the tournament for the second year in a row.
The Young Sables lost their last group games 66-45 against Canada to follow up to earlier defeats against Georgia (43-7) and Japan (39-36).