HomeSportChivhanga vies for regular Springboks jersey

Chivhanga vies for regular Springboks jersey

Enock Muchinjo

ZIMBABWEAN-BORN sensation Tonderai Chivhanga was last week named in a 28-member South African rugby side to tour Argentina, Wales and France next month.

rdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Chivhanga made his Test debut for the Springboks against Uruguay in East London in June this year.

Winger Chivhanga is now jostling for a regular place in a talented Springboks three-quarter line where the tearaway Bryan Habana has become a dominant force on the right wing for the Springboks.

Chivhanga has put up sterling work with his Super 12 side Stormers to put himself into Springbok recognisition. The 21-year-old has come so near yet so far.

While many rugby followers south of the Limpopo believe that Chivhanga is now closer to a regular Springbok jersey, especially with Breyton Paulse, the most capped Springboks winger ever, having retired from international rugby and now playing club rugby in France, Chivhanga still faces stiff competition from fellow youngsters like utility back Conrad Jantjes, who has also been recalled to the Springboks, and winger Ashwin Willemse. Current Bok players such as centres Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie, can also play effectively down the wings.

Born in Masvingo and educated at Harare’s famous Prince Edward School, Chivhanga is the sixth Zimbabwean-born to play for the Springboks since Independence after Ray Mordt, David Smith, Bob Skinstad, Gary Teichmann and Adrian Garvey all made the great trek down south.

Bulawayo-born Skinstad and Gweru-born Teichmann, both back-row forwards, proceeded to captain the Springboks in the 1990’s, and are both regarded as two of the best Springboks captains of their generation.

Chivhanga and Adrian Garvey are, however, the only players on the list who spent their youth in Zimbabwe.

Chivhanga played for the Zimbabwe Schools team at the South African Craven Week in 2000 and 2001, where he burst onto the South African rugby scene. Garvey, a powerful prop who scored two tries for Zimbabwe against Scotland at the 1991 World Cup in the United Kingdom, went on to play in two more World Cups in 1995 and 1999 under the South African flag.

Garvey is the only sportsperson since the 90’s to play for two countries at separate World Cups of a major sport.

Then there is the short-lived Zimbabwe’s first ever black captain, Kennedy Tsimba, who would have certainly played alongside fellow countryman Garvey for the Springboks. Perhaps this country’s most illustrious rugby export, Tsimba was denied the opportunity of playing for South Africa over claims that he fraudulently acquired South African citizenship.

Previously, several Zimbabwean-born stars won Springbok caps in the era before Independence. Des van Jaarsveldt, a flanker, was the first Rhodesian player to captain the Boks when he played his solo Test against Scotland in 1960.

Zimbabwean rugby legend, Ian Robertson, was the best player to turn out for the Springboks in the years leading to Independence. Robertson, a utility back, made his debut against the British Lions in 1974, and befittingly, he is now credited with discovering Chivhanga when he coached at Prince Edward.

Robertson later coached Zimbabwe’s Sables after a glittering playing career with them, and is regarded as the best coach the country has ever had.

Other local players would want to follow in Chivhanga’s footsteps.

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