Revamp for Mat rugby

By Brain Murandu

THE Matabeleland Rugby Football Board has resolved to revamp rugby and maintain contacts with provincial sides of South Africa amid concerns that ties with teams from across the Limpopo coul

d be scrapped.

Speaking ahead of last weekend’s visit to South Africa by the Bulawayo province’s senior squad, Alex Goosen, the MRFB chairman said they were all out to keep the sport developing.

“We want to play top-top rugby. Club rugby must not dominate the season but national, provincial and international rugby should,” he said. “Let’s play the best rugby we can and give the sponsor the mileage he deserves.”

Goosen, who is also the second vice-president of the Zimbabwe Rugby Union alongside Mashonaland’s Losson Mutongwizo said his province was disadvantaged by the one-round format designed for this season’s Lion Lager season by ZRU because Bulawayo has only three teams – Western Panthers (formerly Highlanders), Busters and Old Miltonians while Harare boasts of several clubs in champions Old Hararians, Harare Sports Club, University of Zimbabwe, Mabvuku and Mashonaland Country District.

“They are trying to outspend us. We should try to do the same amount of travelling and let it be a win-win situation for everyone,” he said.

On allegations that Matabeleland intend to form a rebel league Goosen brushed away the suggestion.

“Who’s saying that? No one wants to form a breakaway league but let’s have a look at it (rugby) and revive it,” he said.

Matabeleland, which was paired against Pretoria Bulls in last weekend’s Pietersburg festival is due to play in the Greveld tournament next weekend in South Africa.

It is at the Grenveld tourney where Goosen promised he would meet Brian Vanrayan, president of South African rugby to discuss issues of building relationships between local rugby and South African provincial sides.

Matabeleland is scheduled to host Kenya’s Harlequines tomorrow at Hartsfield in Bulawayo.

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