ZIMBABWE’S sevens rugby side go into this weekend’s Benidorm Sevens tournament in Spain confident of going all the way to another silverware after their success last year.
The Benidorm Sevens involves club and interna
tional sides playing in separate divisions for two team awards in each category.
The Zimbabweans are the defending champions of the Spanish tournament’s second biggest prize, the International Plate, which they won after beating English side Bite Widows in the final last year. Zimbabwean forward Fortune Chipendo was named best player of the tournament.
The Zimbabweans play in a tough Pool C of the international sides division with Portugal and the Welsh Wizards tomorrow.
Zimbabwe will be buoyed by their sterling performance in the first-leg of their European tour in the Amsterdam Sevens tournament in Holland last weekend. The Zambezi Cheetahs emphatically won their preliminary matches to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Silver Pier, which they lost 28-5 to English side Backstabbers.
Bruce Hobson’s men had been placed in Pool 10, beating Dumbusters 7s of England 19-7 and thumping Saudi Arabian side Saudi Bedouins 43-7. Their third pool match was cancelled after their opponents failed to raise a side. They were awarded the match on a 35-0 scoreline.
The three results qualified them to the Silver Pier Pool 45 group matches. They saw off Dutch side Ascrum 38-0 and Italians Bicnic 19-14 on their way to the Silver Pier quarter-finals.
According to reports from Amsterdam, some of Zimbabwe’s outstanding players in the tournament were skipper and prop Jacques Leitao and speedy winger Emmanuel Munyoro, who was the top try-scorer for the Cheetahs.
On the domestic scene, this season’s inter-provincial tournament finally gets underway at Bulawayo’s Hartsfield Stadium this weekend.
There will be five senior teams from Harare, Matabeleland, Mashonaland Country Districts, Midlands, Manicaland, while Harare, Matabeleland and Districts will also field Under-21 sides.
The inter-provincial tournament is part of a trial phase to select the national team for this year’s Africa Cup tournament.
Meanwhile, the Prince Edward School team rugby player who suffered concussion last Saturday in a match against rivals Churchill during Harare provincial trials has been released from the Avenues Clinic but will be out of action for the rest of the year.
Taurai Jani, an open-side flanker, passed out after sustaining a head injury when he went down for a scrum in the second half. There was speculation that a Churchill player had intentionally struck Jani on the cheek bone with an object.
“There was an earlier incident in the first half when Taurai went hard in a contact situation,” Brighton Chivandire, the PE forwards coach, said. “We did not notice it and he looked fine. Nobody really knows what happened and he can’t remember what happened. It was in the second half when he went down for a scrum that he passed out.” — Staff Writer.