REG Querl, the coach of the Zimbabwe Under-19 rugby team, today realises his long-time dream when his boys trot into the park for their maiden World Cup match against Samoa in Durban.
The 49-year-old Falcon College headmaster has been involved in rugby since his high school days at Guinea Fowl High in Gweru in his Midlands home province.
Coming from a sporting family, Querl’s son Glenn played for the national Under-19 cricket team last year and is currently on a cricket scholarship in the United Kingdom. His daughter and wife are involved in hockey, having played and coached the Zimbabwe schools girls hockey team respectively.
Born in Kwekwe, Querl played for the Midlands team during the heydays of Zimbabwean provincial rugby in the 1970s while still in school. He also made the national schools team during the same period. Querl later attended Rhodes University in South Africa where he blossomed as a player for Border and Eastern Cape Under-21s.
“That marked the beginning of my rugby career. Everyone at university was serious about their rugby and from there I wanted to do more of the sport”, said Querl.
On completing college, Querl returned home in 1980 and taught at Marondera High where he revived the sport.
One of his major accomplishments at Marondera was discovering a fine young wing by the name of Godwin Murambiwa, later to become the Zimbabwe national team coach. Murambiwa later moved on to Prince Edward for his A Levels.
In 1986 Querl moved to Peterhouse in Marondera where he immediately took over the school’s first team. Then four years ago, the roving schoolmaster moved to Matabeleland to become the headmaster of Falcon College. Three of his students, forwards Terence Odendaal and Jason Maritz and fullback Nqobile Mpala, are in the Under-19 team for the Durban tournament.
“Falcon always has a good reputation. We are certainly competitive against the top sides especially with the introduction of the Shweppes league last year,” Querl said.
Querl has been involved with the national schools Under-19 side since 1986, and has seen players come and go.
Querl recalls past Under-19 teams boasting the likes of Tonderai Kawaza (now Chavanga), playing for Super 12 side Stormers, and Scott Gray, the former Peterhouse student who has already played for Scotland.
“There is no money here so you can’t ask players to stay. Most of these boys want to become professional rugby players and you can’t ask them to stay,” he said.
However, Querl said Zimbabwe’s participation in the World Cup will help to have the players stay as they will get any early incentive of local rugby.
“I hope we can win some games and bring recognition to local rugby. I think it’s a good team that we have. It’s got good balance. We have got nice big forwards and a quick backline,” said Querl.
Zimbabwe Under-19 squad:
Forwards — Michael Passaportis (captain), Tinashe Moyo, Bongani Moyo-Mujwabu, Xolani Dube, George Heyns, Richard Kinnaird, Dumisani Ncube, Jason Maritz, Terence Odendaal, Andries Steenkamp, Shingai Mpofu, Ayanda Khumalo, Richard Wild, Brendan Brider
Backs — Munyaradzi Taruvinga, Ben Nichols, Roland Benade, Richard Jumbe, Gerald Sibanda, Nqobile Mpala, Ricardo Ferreira, Tangai Nemadire, Thomas Milburn, Ebenezer Simba, Alex Ndangana.