BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
EXPLOSIVE Zimbabwe international prop Cleopas Kundiona Jr took a massive leap in his fledgling rugby career after completing a sensational move to South African rugby union franchise Sharks ahead of the Currie Cup competition.
The 20-year-old hugely talented tighthead prop, who in March joined Johannesburg-based Raiders Rugby Club on a short-term deal, has initially signed a contract with the Sharks for the Currie Cup, although the Durban-based side sees him as a future Super Rugby star.
Kundiona’s move was facilitated by Athletes Sports Management, the brainchild of former Zimbabwe rugby star Gerald Sibanda, who revealed that the Sables prodigy would join his new side after the completion of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge.
“We agreed the terms on Tuesday and what’s left is to fly to Durban to complete the formalities. The Sharks are looking at him as a long term investment, but the initial contract will be for the Currie Cup, but will discuss the Super Rugby contract by October. He will join the Sharks during the first week of June as soon as the Zimbabwe Academy side finishes the SuperSport Challenge,” Sibanda said.
Kundiona has been in superb form for the Zimbabwe Rugby Academy side competing in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge in South Africa, putting on a string of impressive performances which must have caught the eye of Sharks’ scouts.
The 120kg tight-head stood out during the Young Bucks’ opening three matches with his outstanding ball carrying and scrummaging skills which earned him comparisons with the record-breaking Zimbabwe-born
Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira, who also plays for Sharks.
Sibanda, a former Zimbabwe international who played professional rugby in South Africa, Scotland and Romania, was full of praises for Kundiona, who he believes is going to play a crucial role in the Sables’ qualification bid for the 2023 World Cup.
“That guy is going to be unbelievable and I think as Zimbabwe we are very fortunate that Cleopas did go to South Africa and sign for Sharks before he played for the Sables. He has actually played for the
Sables, meaning that whatever success he is going to enjoy at Sharks he is also going to come back and play for the Sables. The Sables are looking to qualify for the 2023 World Cup and he is one of the players who are going to be leading that charge,” Sibanda.
Kundiona was schooled first at Lendy Park primary school in Marondera before proceeding to Falcon College; where he went on to earn selection for the Craven Week twice with Zimbabwe Schools in 2015 and
The big forward made his two Sables appearances last year off the bench against Kenya and Uganda, during the Rugby Africa Gold Cup.