THE Matabeleland Rugby Football Board (MRFB) will host the Matabeleland Challenge Cup this weekend at Hartsfield Rugby Ground with nine teams set to participate in the last 15s tournament of the season.
BY THANDIWE MOYO
Warriors, Western Panthers, Police, Old Miltonians, Gweru, Kwekwe, Kadoma, Midlands State University and Thornhill are the teams that will participate in the tournament.
MRFB vice-chairman Theo Weale said the tournament was initially set to run for six weeks, but they had to cut it short because Masvingo, who were one of the participating teams, had failed to secure a venue and they were still restructuring.
He said their first tournament was in Gweru on September 12, with eight teams participating, and this weekend, they would be joined by MSU.
“To round off our rugby season, we will have this tournament. We didn’t have much action in the 15s and this tournament was initially meant to run for six weeks. We will have playoffs after which we will play semi-finals and eventually the final,” Weale said.
He added that they had received assistance from Buy ‘n’ Build who were trying to help revive the sport in Matabeleland.
The Matabeleland-Midlands League, which was formed after the dissolution of the National Rugby League, did not run for long due to lack of funding.
Weale said they were hoping the players that would be identified at the tournament would take part in the Spar Seven’s Series which they hope would be staged in Bulawayo.
“We hope that we will get some of our players to be drafted in the national side for the Seven’s safari,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Rugby Union national development officer, George Mukorera said Bulawayo will host the Old Mutual Community Cup which will feature 12 teams from the city’s western suburbs on Friday.
The teams expected to take part are Entumbane, St Columbus, Sobukhazi, Mzilikazi, Msitheli, St Bernard’s, Amhlophe, Northlea, Hamilton, Nkulumane, Sikhulikle and Ihlathi.
“This is the first of the Old Mutual Sevens tournament. We will have another on October 17. Then we will select a provincial side that will play against Harare, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West, culminating in the national tournament on December 5,” he said.
The sevens tournament will feature under-14s, 16s and 18s and girls sides.