THE presence of iconic Cape Town club False Bay in the country has been too tempting for retired Zimbabwe rugby star Jacques Leitao not to take to the field again — at least for two more games.
The legendary former Sables flank, who retired from all forms of rugby at the beginning of the year, will feature for Old Georgians against the touring South African club in a two-match series, giving adoring local fans one last chance to watch one of this country’s finest players of our time.
The first game of the tour — dubbed the Isuzu Series — will be played at Old Georgians tomorrow, kicking off at 4pm.
Old Georgians announced the brief comeback of the multiple-capped Zimbabwe international, a devout Christian, in a post yesterday.
“I shall die with my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the Phoenix ~Job 29:18 – The return of Jacques Leitao,” read the apt post on the club’s Facebook page.
Coming from a player respected by teammates and opponents alike, the announcement drew a comment from long-serving Harare Sports Club official Freddie Penias, who remarked: “The game is addictive, you never know when to totally give up. Make sure when you decide to totally give up it will be an honour to play your last game for Sportivo (Harare Sports Club).”
Leitao, now 36, turned out for Harare Sports Club before spending several glorious seasons with Old Georgians.
Mutare-born and raised Leitao said yesterday: “It’s going to be a big tour not just to OGs but to Zimbabwe rugby as a whole. It’s going to be good exposure for the young guys at OGs to taste playing at the next level of club rugby. Thank God for his Grace and his Mercies, my verse I hold onto is Phillippians 4:13.”
False Bay, established 89 years ago, are the defending champions of South Africa’s national club competition, the Gold Cup – which also incorporates teams from Zimbabwe and Namibia. Zimbabwean loose forward Tapiwa Tsomondo and centre Riaan O’Neill play for False Bay and are expected to feature in the two contests.
Old Georgians, meanwhile, have signed Glen Walters, a 28-year-old flyhalf from New Zealand who has represented Wellington at Under-19 and Under-20 levels.
“The opportunity to come and visit Africa for the first time and experience what there is to offer here was too hard not to miss. I look forward to testing myself on the rugby field and to see what the brand of rugby is like here in Zimbabwe,” said Walters, who also turned out for Guernsey Raiders in the UK.
Old Georgians head coach Grant Mitchell said the New Zealander will be a great asset to the club. “Glen is a talented player and comes from the greatest rugby nation in the world,” Mitchell posted.
“His role at OGs extends beyond his performance in the field. He will play a guiding and mentoring role to the young talent at OGs and in particular the backline players. His knowledge of the game and how it’s played in NZ will begin to blend in with what we do. We are excited to watch him train and play in the upcoming @false_bayrfc series and the @dubai7s and we look to share with him what life is like in Zimbabwe.” — Correspondent.