Zimbabwe eye return to World Sevens Series

Enock Muchinjo

AFTER last year’s snub by the International Rugby Board, the Zimbabwe sevens rugby national team may return to the Dubai and George World Sevens Series this year after going up the rankings in Africa on the ba

ck of the team’s stirling performances in the last two months.


Zimbabwe are now ranked second after Kenya in Africa, with both sides seating on the same points in the seeding. Local sevens rugby has been on a revival path as proven by the Cheetahs’s plate final triumph in the Benerdorm Sevens in Spain last month. Zimbabwe’s sevens and 15s international Fortune Chipendo was voted the tournament’s best player.

Zimbabwe Rugby Sevens manager Bruce Hobson said there was more depth in Zimbabwe sevens rugby now after the formation of the Husqvarna Sevens Academy, and the initiation of the United Kingdom training camping programme and European tours, where the team is exposed to top-class facilities and coaching.

“We now have structures in place in local sevens and we are playing the right rugby. We really should get an invitation to Dubai and George in December. Our aim is to get back to the IRB Circuit where Kenya is, because right now, we are playing better than them like we should always have been,” Hobson said.

A fortnight ago, the Cheetahs enhanced their chances of IRB recognisition when they put up commendable performances in the Tusker Sevens tournament in Kenya. John Ewing’s men lost 14-19 in extra-time of a closely contested final against South Africa’s Emerging Springboks after the game finished 14-14 in regulation time.

The Cheetahs had accounted for Namibia, Golden Lions and Bristol University on their way to the final.

Zimbabwe leave for Zambia today to take part in the Mosi Sevens where top South African provincial sides are participating. Hobson is taking two sides to Lusaka, the Cheetahs, and a development team, Goshawks, coached by Mashonaland Country Districts player Max Dyke and managed by former Cheetahs player, Basil Dingiswayo. The Goshawks are made up of younger players pushing for Cheetahs selection.

Cheetahs: Jacques Leitao, Wesley Mbanje, John Ewing (player/coach), Neil Nortje, Willis Magasa, Emmanuel Munyoro, Tangai Nemadire, Matthew Rowe, Slater Ndlovu, Tonderai Mapunde. Goshawks:

Eddie Manyere, Craig Elcombe, Cornelius Dube, Sudden Mangure, Arnold Takawira, Victor Zimbawo, Tafadzwa Mhende, Martin Mahwani, John Boet, Roy Ormerod.