Mudariki’s future at Worcester uncertain

England-based Zimbabwe rugby star Farai Mudariki’s future at Worcester Warriors is uncertain, having not featured for the Gallagher Premiership side since the resumption of the current season last month.

DANIEL NHAKANISO

After a luckless run of injuries, Mudariki was eager to break into the Worcester Warriors first team this season having been rewarded with a new contract by the Premiership club in January last year.

His hopes were, however, dashed when English top-flight fixtures were initially shelved for five weeks in mid-March before being indefinitely suspended in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The indefinite suspension of the season meant Mudariki, whose current contract expires at the end of the current campaign, missed out on an opportunity to warrant a contract renewal.

Now the 25 year-old explosive tighthead prop admits that he does not know whether he will be staying on at Sixways Stadium next season and is currently weighing up his options for next season in case he is not given a new contract.

“After some injury problems, I’d managed to get back to my best and I was training again and I felt I’d put myself to earn a new contract as there had been a lot of injuries in the tight head position which is my position. Unfortunately, that again didn’t manifest because of the current coronavirus pandemic we are going through,” Mudariki told IndependentSport in an exclusive interview.

“It’s unfortunate the way the season panned out for me I’d been hoping that this would be my big season in the Premiership, but that obviously didn’t happen because of the pandemic we are currently going through. It’s also been a blessing in disguise in that I’ve been able to train really hard and get my body into shape. I’ve done a lot of research on my past injuries with some top physiotherapists around the world and people who have testimonies about what they’ve been through so I’ve been working through a couple of programmes with a couple of people, some based in America to make sure I’m as robust as possible wherever I’ll be playing my rugby which I’m not too sure of at the moment,” he said.

A product of Top 14 side Castres Olympique’s academy, Mudariki arrived at Sixways on the eve of the 2018-19 campaign after agreeing to move from French third-tier outfit Stado Tarbes Pyrenees.

The former Michaelhouse student initially bid his time in Warriors’ second team, Worcester Cavaliers as he gelled well in the team in the second tier Premiership Shield competition.

Although Mudariki played just two games for Warriors last term, both in the pool stages of the Premiership Cup, he still did enough to secure a new one-year contract in January.
And just when he looked well poised to make his topflight league debut, his progress was halted by injury and subsequently the impact of the coronavirus.

“Having joined Worcester two years ago and reflecting back, its been mixed emotions in the sense that during my first season I didn’t really know what to expect but I gelled in quickly and played really well in the Premiership Shield for the Worcester Cavaliers which serves as the second team. I performed really well there and set myself to get some game time in this current season, in the previous season I’d managed to pick up two Premiership Cup appearances against a really strong Saracens, which featured the likes of Schalke Burger, Argentinean international Marcelo Bosch, Michael Rhodes who is also an ex Michaelhouse boy and a couple of other really good players. That was a good experience for me,” he said.

Mudariki added: “Coming into the second season I felt that with the performances id put in from the season before and the way id trained hard I’d really setup myself well to burst into the first team, but I guess things didn’t go as planned.”

Now while his immediate future is still uncertain, Mudariki still hopes he can convince Worcester to give him a new contract as he is keen to remain in the Gallagher Premiership next season. Worcester are yet to make an official announcement regarding his status at the club.

Mudariki is also exploring the possibility of featuring in the Pro14 after South African franchises were recently linked with a move to join the annual rugby union competition which involves professional sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.

Mudariki is a key member of the Sables side and scored a try on his Zimbabwe debut against Madagascar in 2015 in a Rugby World Cup qualifier and now has 10 international caps.
His most recent appearance was in August, 2018 against Tunisia in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup, a qualifying game for the 2019 World Cup.Mudariki is the younger brother of former Jersey Reds scrum-half and Zimbabwe captain Hilton Mudariki.

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