Spotlight on girls’ rugby as festival begins

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THE increase in the number of girls’ rugby teams is expected to spice up the opening day of the Dairibord Schools Rugby Festival at Prince Edward and Allan Wilson today with schools from previously overlooked areas expected to showcase their talent.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

A total of 30 girls’ teams will feature in this year’s edition of the festival, the highest number in the history of the six-day event which has attracted 186 schools from around the country and one foreign team, Livingstone Kolobeng College, from Botswana.

Seven new girls’ teams — Queen Elizabeth, Herentals, Mt Pleasant, Zengeza 1, Zengeza 4, SOS Hermann Gmeiner (Bindura) and Amhlophe (Bulawayo) will be making a debut appearance at the six-day event.

Zimbabwe Women’s Sevens rugby coach Abigail Kawonza says she is pleased with the gradual increase in the number of girls’ teams and believes the festival presents an opportunity to uncover talent and showcase the strides being made in the women’s game.

“It’s great to see that girls’ rugby is growing in popularity in schools. It shows that there is growth in the women’s game and we now have a structure in place from the schools,” said Kawonza.

“We have been encouraging the local women’s clubs to attend the festival and scout for talent. Since last year we have seen an increase in the number of school girls playing club rugby for teams such as Police, Harare Sports Club.

“In fact, one of our women’s clubs called Cubs is entirely made up of school girls and we hope that will continue. We have roped in six girls who did well at last year’s festival to training with the women’s national sevens side while we also planning to form an Under-21 national side which will start training with the senior side.”

The two main matches in the girls’ category will be played at the main Jubilee Field with Girls High taking on rivals Roosevelt while Vainona clash against George Stark.

All the other girls’ matches will be played the Rhodes Field.

With the selection for the junior national teams expected to start today, the Dairibord Schools Rugby Festival presents an opportunity for gifted players from previously overlooked areas such as Mutoko and Seke where rugby is slowly catching on to be spotted by selectors.

Yet still, the highlight at the Dairibord event will once again be the intense rivalry between the traditional top sides, who are expected to kick start their campaigns at the same venues tomorrow.

Today’s fixtures
Jubilee Field
Oriel Boys v Cranborne (0800), Lord Malvern v Western Suburbs (0900), Atexis v Mt Pleasant (1000), Girls High* v Roosevelt (1100), Chaplin High v Mzilikazi (1200), Prince Edward 2nd v Trust Academy (1300), Vainona* v George Stark (1400), Sobukazi v Eaglesvale 2nd (1500), Herentals v St John’s 2nd (1600)
Avenues Field
Highfield 1 v Glen Norah (0800), Tynwald High v Entumbane (0900), BP Study Centre v Budiriro (1000), Royal College v Zengeza 1 (1100), Kuwadzana 1 v Harare High (1200), Dzivarasekwa 2 v Kuwadzana 2 (1300), Christ Ministries v Kambuzuma 2 (1400), Morgan v Tafara (1500), St Paul’s v Presbyterian (1600)
Chapel Field
Goldridge v Marist (0800), St Columbus v Chipindura (0900), Chipadze v Conway (1000), Chinhoyi v Vengere (1100), Zengeza 4 v Nhowe (1200), Mufakose High 2 v Marlborough (1300), Prince Edward U-17 v Chindunduma U-17 (1400), St John’s U-17 v Mabvuku U-17 (1500), Highfield High 1 v Royal College (1600)
Rhodes Field – Girls
Mabvuku v Sobukazi (0800), Harare High v Herentals (0900), Goromonzi v Hatfield (1000), Kuwadzana High 1 v Tafara 2 High (1100), Queen Elizabeth v Mt Pleasant (1200), Kuwadzana 2 v Tafara 1 (1300), Morgan High v Lord Malvern (1400), Amhlophe v Zengeza High 1 (1500), Mbare High v Dzivaresekwa 1 High (1600)
Sable Field (Allan Wilson) – U-16
Highfield 1 v Zengeza 3 (0800), Zengeza 1 v Mbare High (0900), Sobukazi v Mt Pleasant (1000), Presbyterian v Glen View 2 (1100), George Stark v Royal College (1200), Zengeza 2 v Budiriro (1300), Amhlophe U16 v Mandedza U-16 (1400), Dzivaresekwa High U-16 v SOS U-16 (1500)