…Litmus test for young Shumbas against the Pitbulls
MUTARE Sports Club Under-21 rugby side will face a litmus test today (Saturday) when they host the defending champions in the 2019 Harare U-21 League Pitbulls.
The match will kick off at 2pm at Mutare Sports Club.
This will be the young Shumbas fourth match in the league after trouncing Hatcliffe 65-8 last Saturday. Despite having home advantage, this will however not be a walk in the park for the young Shumbas as they are up against the defending champions that finished last season undefeated and remain undefeated so far this year.
The U-21 Harare League kicked off on January 26 with two teams joining the league, MSC and Chitungwiza’s Southern City. This year’s league therefore now comprises of 16 teams dived into two groups A and B, Group A comprises of the defending champions Pitbulls, XP Horns, Chitungwiza, University of Zimbabwe (UZ), MSC, Harare Sports Club (HSC), Mufakose and Hatcliffe, whilst Group B includes Alex Sports Club, Ancient City, Mabvuku, Mbare Select, Old Georgians (OGs), Old Hararians (OH), Southern City and Yadah.
The young Shumbas only lost their opening game 12-40 to University of Zimbabwe and went on to defeat XP Horns 12-5, then Hatcliffe 65-8. This will be their greatest test of valour and they will hope to impress in front of their home fans.
On the other hand, there will be double rugby action as there will also be a pre-season return lap friendly match pitting the Msc senior team against Southern City. The match kicks off at 3:30pm.
In the last away match played on February 9, the Shumbas won 16-7 against the Chitungwiza side.Last Saturday the sinoir side also defeated Africa University 57-7 in another friendly encounter at the university grounds.
The pre-season friendly matches will help the Mutare outfit in its preparations for the intercity Super Six national league that will make a return this year. The league expected to start on March 16, will feature the country’s top six teams comprising of Old Georgians, Harare Sports Club, Matabeleland Warriors, Old Hararians, Highlanders and Msc.
The league will be run by the Zimbabwe Rugby Union in conjunction with its various corporate partners. ZRU president, Aaron Jani, at a recently held meeting with all union members said they want to ensure the return of the intercity league this year and are in the process of securing sponsorship.
“The most important initiative for 2019 is the introduction of the league. We want to get back to where we can get strong competition in the clubs. Unfortunately we cannot start with a big league. We will only start with six teams.
“We have instead approached one sponsor to look after an individual team, meaning we will have six sponsors, one for each team.
“Our aim is to make sure that we grow this league that next year we possibly have eight or 10 teams. The league is going to start on March 16. It is going to be played on a home and away basis. We are going to play a total of 12 games. We will then have semi and final matches,” said Jani in an interview with The Manica Post.
Jani said they will select a team that is going to take part in the Super Sport Challenge in April in South Africa.
“We are going to play the first leg of the club games and we will pick a squad that will represent us at the Super Sport Challenge. We were granted the right to play in the Super Sport Challenge from April 27 where we will play against eight South African sides including a Namibia one.
“The tournament will last six- eight weeks. After finishing the Super Sport Challenge we will then come back and resume the second leg of our league games,” he said.