Zim rugby league suspended

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PHILLIMON MHLANGA

The Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) has suspended the newly established national rugby competition, the Su­per Six Rugby League, to pave way for the SuperSport Challenge Cup in South Africa.

The SuperSport Challenge Cup runs from this Saturday to June 29, meaning the local rugby league will only resume in July.

A local representative outfit, the Zimbabwe Rugby Academy, will represent the country at the rugby festival, with the bulk of the Zimbabwe’s rugby team coming from the six teams playing in the local national rugby league—Harare Sports Club, Old Georgians, Old Hararians, Old Milto­nians, Matabeleland Warriors and Mutare Sports Club.

ZRU vice president, Losson Mtongwiza told Business Times yesterday that the local rugby league will go into recess for two months until the end of June to pave way for the SuperSport Rugby Chal­lenge Cup in South Africa.

During the break, Mtongwiza said, the coun­try’s rugby governing board has organised a Harare Challenge Cup, to keep the teams “active”.

However, the Harare Challenge Cup has no monetary prizes attached to it, where some teams’ fringe players will be given a run in the absence of some key players who are in South Africa with the Zimbabwe Rugby Academy.

“But, there will be games in between because we (the ZRU) have organised a Harare Challenge Cup, a competition which will see four teams in the national league participate in. These will be Old Hararians, Old Georgians, Harare Sports Club and Mutare Sports Club, that will participate in the completion scheduled from the beginning of May to end of June,” Mtongwiza told Business Times.

He said the purpose of the Harare Challenge was to keep the teams active during the period and also to give the others players a chance because key players are with the Academy team in South Africa. The Zimbabwe Rugby Academy’s opening match is against the Sharks on May 4.

After the game against the Sharks, the Zimba­bwe Academy will take on SWD Eagles on May 12 before a clash with Western Province a week later. On May 18, Zimbabwe Academy will face Western Province before playing the Cheetahs, Boland and Eastern Province on May 25, June 1 and June 8 respectively.

Fifteen teams comprising 13 South African pro­vincial unions and clubs, two foreign teams, Zim­babwe and Namibia’s Welwitschias, will also take part in the tournament, which is organised by the South African Rugby Union.

The tournament was set up two years ago as a long-term successor of the Vodacom Cup compe­tition, and will be played at different venues across South Africa. The competition, serves as an impor­tant development tournament for South African Rugby. Old Georgians are leading the Super Six Rugby league with 14 points from three games played so far, having won all their matches, fol­lowed by Harare Sports Club (10 points), Old Hararians ( six points), Matabeleland Warriors (six points) Mutare Sports Club (five points) and Old Miltonians (0 points).

The last round of games before the break will be on this Saturday in Harare and Bulawayo.

Log leaders, Old Georgians, who are still to taste defeat in the league so far, travel to Bulawayo to face Matabeleland Warriors, while winless Old Miltonians face Harare Sports Club in the City of Kings and Queens. In Harare, Old Hararians will battle with visiting Mutare City Sports Club in the capital also on Saturday. The teams will break un­til the end of June.