Grassroots Sevens rugby is set for a major boost after SPAR, who are the sponsors of the Zimbabwe Sevens Rugby team – the Cheetahs – came on board to sponsor the SPAR Under-16 and 19s interprovincial Seven-a-side tournament on August 2 at St John’s College.
The SPAR Under-16 and 19s Interprovincial Sevens tourney will act as a selection platform for two representative junior teams in South Africa later this year.
The director of sport at St John’s College, Atherston Squire, who is part of the tournament’s organising committee, said: “SPAR, who are the official sponsors of the Cheetahs, will be sponsoring the interprovincial Sevens tournament.”
“Most players who are part of the Cheetahs side will attend the tournament and will help in the selection of the Under-16 and Under-19 national sides which will represent the country in South Africa.”
“We are expecting teams from Harare, Masvingo, Mashonaland East and West, Bulawayo and Matabeleland South.”
With Sevens rugby expected to make its Olympic debut in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, tournaments of this nature should be a massive boost for the growth of the sport.
“As you know Sevens rugby is set to become an Olympic sport in 2016 so it’s important that we make sure that our young players have enough exposure in this format of the game at an early age.
“It won’t come as a surprise if some of the players who will be selected at this tournament are part of the team that will represent the country in Brazil,” said Squire.
The two junior teams that will be selected at the conclusion of the tournament are expected to represent the country at the second edition of the Craven Week Sevens in September. The Craven Week Sevens will coincide with the Middleburg Sevens tournament from September 14-15 which the Cheetahs will use to prepare for the 2013 Sevens Rugby World Cup qualifiers in Morocco from September 29-30.
In Marrakech, the Cheetahs will battle with the hosts Morocco, Madagascar, Namibia, Zambia, Tunisia, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast for the sole ticket to the World Cup to be held in Russia.