ZIMBABWE international rugby players continue to make huge strides in South African rugby after five local players were included Sharks Club XV squad for the SARU Central Amateur Provincial Championship early this week.
The quintet of Shayne Makombe, Biselele Tshamala and Sanele Sibanda, Royal Mwale and Witness Mandizha were all part of the Sharks Club XV squad that beat Griquas NWK 82-12 at the Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre in Gamalakhe on Monday evening.
While the duo of Mwale and Mandizha started the match from the bench, the trio of Makombe, Tshamala and Sibanda were part of the KwaZulu-Natal outfit’s starting team.
Sharks Club XV is made up of promising amateur and semi-professional players plying their trade for different clubs from the KwaZulu-Natal Province with ambitions of breaking through to other South African competitions such as the Vodacom Cup and the Currie Cup.
Sibanda, who is making his second appearance in the competition after being called up for the first time last year, said he was happy to see more Zimbabwean players breaking into the squad.
“It’s a great reward from the long season, last year I was the only Zimbabwean in the team which was then called Duikers and has since been changed to Sharks Club XV.
“It’s good to have a couple of my Zimbabwean brothers with me namely Biselele Tshamala, Witness Mandizha, Royal Mwale and Shayne Makombe. They are all quality players who have done well in their respective clubs.
“Biselele won MVP (Most Valuable Player) in the Durban league while Shayne Makombe was UKZN Backline Player of the Yeara They are skillful and exciting players who add value to the Team (Sharks XV). They are an awesome bunch; we keep encouraging and urging one another to play hard as Zimbabwean nationals. Sharks Club XV is a platform to showcase your talent and hopefully the right people will appreciate and recognise our efforts as potential Vodacom or Currie cup players in some of the South African Unions,” said Sibanda.
Makombe, who scored a brilliant try during the match after starting at wing, is part of prestigious University of KwaZulu Natal University (UKZN) rugby programme which has produced four Springbok Test captains and three World Cup winners.
Tshamala, who has been one of the standout players at Varsity College, where he was named the Durban league’s Player of the Year also started the match at flank.
College Rovers’ Sibanda started at lock with hooker Mwale and Mandizha, who are both part of the Durban Collegians setup starting from the bench.