Takudzwa Chitsiga Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE have committed to take part in the 2022 edition of South Africa and world’s oldest rugby competition – the Currie Cup tournament – scheduled for South Africa in July.
The national senior men’s rugby team accepted an invite for the tournament that is expected to have powerhouses like Kenya and Namibia.
The national senior 15s side, who are seeking to revive the Goshawks brand, will not be known as The Sables when they take part in the tournament. The Zimbabwe Goshawks team is a developmental feeder team to the national Sevens team – the Cheetahs – and will give an opportunity to young players to prove their mettle.
The 2022 edition of the Currie Cup will be used as a precursor of the World Cup qualifiers scheduled for France later this year. The event kicks-off this weekend, with the defending champions, the Bulls, travelling to Nelspruit to tackle the Pumas at Mbombela Stadium as the other matches will see the Cheetahs hosting Griquas at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein as Western Province entertain the Lions at Cape Town Stadium. The Sharks were the runners-up last season and have a bye in the opening round.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Zimbabwe Rugby Union president, Aaron Jani, said they are looking forward to a great year and has rallied all the stakeholders to rally behind the team.
“We are looking forward to a great year for the senior national rugby team, which is important to us. We have managed to make some structures and made a system that will work in our favour ahead of the World Cup qualifiers. Our intention is to do well in the Currie Cup so that we can also do well in the Africa Cup and World |Cup qualifiers.
“Taking part in the second tier league in South Africa, The Currie Cup, will give us an opportunity to see how well prepared we are ahead of some very challenging tournaments ahead of us,” said Jani.
The ZRU president also thanked the support the union is getting from the corporate world who stood with the team last year during the Stellenbosch tournament in which Zimbabwe finished second after they were defeated by Namibia in the dying minutes of the game.
“We are grateful to all sponsors who came on board during the past years, especially the Sables Trust who have helped us to manage to fulfil all our fixtures.
‘‘I am grateful to the administrators who sacrificed their time to support the team,” said Jani.
Sables Trust chairperson, Collin De Jong, said they are prepared to stand with the Go Sharks and are committed to see them fulfil the tournaments ahead.
“We are fully committed that we compete in all events lined up for us this year and we look forward to the challenge. Our hope is to see the team qualify and we urge our sponsors to continue supporting us,’’ said De Jong.