THE country’s most prestigious schools rugby festival finally kicks off this morning with the cream of Zimbabwean schoolboy rugby expected to showcase their talent for the next five days at Prince Edward and Allan Wilson schools in the capital.
The event is now known as the Dairibord Schools Rugby Festival after Dairibord Zimbabwe (Private) Limited took over as the main sponsors from the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco).
A total of 44 matches are lined up from this morning across five school grounds, four of them at Prince Edward namely the main Jubilee Field, Avenues Field, Chapel Field and Rhodes Field.
Sable Field at neighbouring Allan Wilson will host matches for the Under-16 teams.
With the country’s top rugby-playing schools expected to start their campaigns tomorrow, today will be a chance for the emerging schools to show the progress they are making as the sport continues to spread across the country.
The Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) in partnership with various local sponsors has since last year embarked on efforts to develop the game in high density suburbs across the country.
It will be interesting to see if those efforts are bearing fruit as most of the schools from those areas will be in action today.
Meanwhile, the festival which will be run under the theme Growth – From Community Development to a Culture Of Sporting Excellence will be graced by the International Rugby Board (IRB) vice-chairman South African Oregan Hoskins.
Hoskins, who is also the president of the South African Rugby Union, was expected to arrive in the country last night together with the respected Zimbabwe-born coach Ian McIntosh, who will conduct coaching clinics with the national Under-20 and the senior side, the Sables during the week.
Richard De Jager, the South African Rugby Union exchange programme co-ordinator will also be scouting for talent during the festival.
Jubilee Field: Oriel Boys v Lord Malvern (0800), Mbare High v Herentals (0900), Cranborne v Marlborough (1000), Vainona v George Stark (1100), Chipindura v Mabvuku (1200), Mt Pleasant v Ellis Robins (1300), Harare Girls High v Roosevelt Girls High (1400), Prince Edward 2nd v Western Suburbs (1500), Eaglesvale 2nd v Trust Academy (1600)
Avenues Field: Harare High v Loxley (0800), Highfield High One v Tynwald (0900), Hippo Valley v St Faith (1000), Mufakose 2 v Dzivarasekwa 2 (1100), Seke 1 v Nyatsime (1200), Dzivarasekwa 1 v Sikhulile (1300), Zengeza 1 v Morgan (1400), SOS Bindura v Gaza (1500), B&P Center v Kuwadzana 1 (1600)
Chapel Field: Sobukazi v Zengeza 4 (0800), Chipadze v Mzilikazi (0900), Entumbane v George Stark (1000), Presbyterian v Chindunduma (1100), Royal College v Mavhudzi (1200), Quality Academy v Nhowe (1300), Mpopoma v St Paul’s (1400), Royal College v Goromonzi (1500), Tafara 2 v Dzivarasekwa (1600)
Rhodes Field: Mabvuku v Mt Pleasant (0800), Lord Malvern v SOS (0900), Glen View 1 v Mbare High (1000), Hatfield v Kuwadzana 1 (1100), Mufakose 2 v Sobukazi (1200), Morgan v Tafara (1300), Highfield v Queen Elizabeth (1400), George Stark U-16 v Marlborough U-16 (1500)
Sable Field-U-16 Matches – Ellis Robins v Sobukazi (0800), Tafara High 2 v Dzivarasekwa 2 (0900), Mandedza v Presbyterian (1000) 4 Chipindura v Harare High (1100), Mufakose High 1 v Kuwadzana High 1 (1200), Mufakose 2 v SOS Bindura (1300), Cranborne v Kambuzuma 2 (1400), Tynwald v Glen View 1 (1500), Morgan v Zengeza 4 (1600)