BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
LOCAL rugby players have been handed an opportunity to earn selection into the Currie Cup-bound Goshawks squad when they feature in the newly-formed Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup which gets underway at Old Georgians Sports Club in Harare on Saturday.
The new domestic cup competition which is being bankrolled by the Sables’ title sponsors, Nedbank Zimbabwe, will feature six local teams from across the country.
More importantly, it will mark the return of domestic men’s 15s rugby for the first time in more than two years.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) revealed that the competition will present an opportunity for local players to be selected in the Zimbabwe Select side, also known as the Goshawks, ahead of their participation in the Currie Cup First Division in South Africa next month.
“Zimbabwe Rugby Union in partnership with Harare province and the Sables Trust are pleased to announce the Challenge Cup starting on February 19. Six teams will play three rounds of matches with the top two teams playing in a final on March 12, 2022,” ZRU said in a statement.
“Games will also be used as preparation and selection of the Goshawks Select participating in the Currie Cup in March 2022. All local players have an opportunity to be looked at by the Sables head coach and selectors.”
“The participating teams include Old Georgians, Old Hararians. Harare Sports Club, Southern City, Manicaland Select and Bulawayo Select, please note due to the interest from other teams/clubs we will look to rotate the worst performing team for the next round of fixtures to ensure all players get an opportunity,” ZRU said.
The first two rounds will be hosted by Old Georgians with the third round of fixtures and the finals to be confirmed in due course.
This weekend’s Nedbank Rugby Challenge fixtures will run concurrently with the Paramount Garments U20 League which will be entering Week 3 on Saturday.
The competition will get underway on Saturday with Harare Sports Club taking on Manicaland Select in the first match at Old Georgians while hosts Old Georgians clash against Bulawayo Select in the second match of the day.
Old Hararians will be aiming for a solid start when they face Southern City in the main match on the Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup schedule.
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