Ray Bande Senior Reporter
THE inaugural Manicaland sevens rugby series league got underway last weekend in a move aimed at spreading the game and create a bigger player pool base for the provincial flagship outfit, Mutare Sports Club.
The initiative, which was the brainchild of the Manicaland Rugby Board (MRB), is aimed at decentralising rugby from Mutare Sports Club and have more teams formed in suburbs within Mutare and in other districts in Manicaland.
In the opening round of matches, MSC Shumbas thumped Eagles 56-0 while Police were on the receiving end against Mountain Lions in a tie that ended in a 17-23 scoreline.
MSC Shumbas walloped Vikings 14-0.
Mountain Lions had another bite of the cherry when they dismissed Eagles 14-24 while MSC Shumbas also cemented their dominance with a 20-0 drubbing of hapless Police.
Vikings suffered another heavy 26-0 defeat at the hands of Mountain Lions.
In their other match Police once again lost 10-17 to Eagles.
MSC Shumbas overpowered Mountain Lions 26-12 to assert their dominance in this inaugural Manicaland sevens series.
MRB chairman Josiah Borerwe said although MSC as the flagship team will still participate in other 7s national leagues and tournaments, the provincial series league will become a pillar to sharpen the skills of local players, coaches and referees through more game experience exposure.
“What we have basically done is to decentralise the main franchise team, Mutare Sports Club, and split the players according to their suburban geographical areas. By so doing we will grow our player pool base and also spread the game to various suburbs, especially the high density suburbs.
“Instead of waiting for a few national 7s tournaments as was the case before, the Manicaland 7s series league will have fixtures after every two weeks which will give local players, coaches and referees exposure to sharpen their skills,” said Borerwe.
The main franchise MSC will be coached by local veteran rugby mentor Mackenzie Munetsi and captained by Gideon Muyambo, Mountain Lions based in Chikanga at the Manicaland Showground will be coached by Brendon Chombo and captained by speed merchant Martin Mangongo.
Vikings gaffer will be Armson Makumbe and the captain is Kuda Murapa whilst debutants Police will be coached by Elias Chari with Eagles under the tutelage of Blessing Chizaza and captain Alvin Ndega. Rusape Rugby Club that is coached by Paul Mbofana and captained by Anyway Nyatoti will be the only team from outside Mutare.
The Mutare select side, made up of retired old boys, which will see the likes of Borerwe and Munetsi among others, running on the field will add the fun to the tournament.
Borerwe said the provincial series will set off this year mostly with Mutare teams but the vision is to grow the league to have at least one team from each district throughout the province.
He said limited finances remain the biggest impediment of conducting rugby coaching clinics and marketing the game in other districts.
“As MRB we are trying our best to spread the sport with the little resources we get from well-wishers and corporate partners. We hope the corporate around will see the need and benefit of partnering the game of rugby here in Manicaland,” he said.