Following the Cheetahs’ qualification for next year’s IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup, the spotlight shifts to the highly anticipated Lion Lager National Rugby League final between hosts Harare Sports Club and Matabeleland Warriors on Saturday.
Report by Daniel Nhakaniso Sports Reporter
The epic clash between the two most consistent teams this season will pull the curtain down on what has been an intriguing season.
The match had initially been slated for last month, but was pushed to this weekend forward due to the Cheetahs’ commitments at the Middleburg Sevens in South African and the regional qualifiers for the IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup in Morocco.
Warriors will welcome back in-form loose forward Lucky Sithole who was away with the Cheetahs while Sports Club will be boosted by the return of Danny Hondo and Tangai Nemadire who were also away in Morocco.
National Rugby League president Noddy Kanyangarara told NewsDay Sport everything was now in place ahead of the final.
“Everything is almost in place; we are just putting the final touches to make sure that everything runs smoothly on the day. We are expecting a huge crowd like what has happened in the last two seasons and we are doing our best to ensure that we are prepared”.
“We have sent out invitations to various stakeholders who we hope will grace the special occasion. The Sports and Recreation Commission director general retired Colonel Charles Nhemachena will be the guest of honor,” said Kanyangarara.
While the main match of the day is going to be the final, the programme of activities on the day will get underway at 1100 hours with a friendly match between Airforce and Zvishavane Bulls.
Reigning champions Old Georgians, who narrowly missed out on a place in the final to Warriors, will then clash with Old Hararians in a third and fourth-place playoff starting at 1300 hours.
The final will get underway at 1600 hours.
Warriors will go into the match determined to end the Harare team’s stranglehold on the championship which dates back to the late 90s when Old Miltonians reigned supreme.
Harare Sports Club will see Saturday’s final as a chance to finally end their chokers’ tag, having lost to Old Georgians in the last two finals after extra time.