Mat Warriors Promote 6 To First Team

AT least six players that inspired Matabeleland Warriors to the Bulawayo Metropolitan Rugby Football Board (BMRFB) Under-21 title will be promoted to the club’s first team for the 2018 season.

Warriors beat defending champions Old Miltonians 19-14 in a pulsating final played at Hartsfield Ground on Saturday.

Japhet Ndebele, the Warriors’ coach, believes centre and captain Takudzwa Gumanya, eighthman Tinashe Changare, prop Lungile Mafikela, fullback Theo Goredema, winger Mbongeni Sibanda and lock Rodney Ncube are ready to play first team rugby.

The six were instrumental in Warriors’ unbeaten run on their way to lifting the Under-21 title without dropping a point.

In the group stages, Warriors beat Highlanders 19-10, Old Miltonians 22-8 and Bulldogs 75-0. The champions made light work of Bulldogs 22-3 in the semi-finals.

“I’m happy for the boys and we just want to thank God, who guided us through. I think this was a deserved victory for the guys because they really put in hard work.

“There are about six guys that we will be promoting to the first team and they will start by playing in the Sevens’ Series that kicks off next weekend,” said Ndebele.

OMs’ road to the final was not smooth as they suffered two group stage defeats, first falling 14-18 to Highlanders and going down 8-22 to Warriors.

OMs had to dig deep to dump 2016 champions Highlanders in the semi-finals with an 8-5 victory to set up a final against Warriors.

Para Matsika, the OMs coach, was happy with his players’ performances and believes the future of his club is bright.

“The boys gave their best and this was a tightly contested final. I think being the defending champions, we were a little bit under pressure to retain the title, but we never came to the party.

“Overall, I believe the future of Old Miltonians looks bright because these youngsters have shown the zeal and hunger to play rugby,” said Matsika.

Some of OMs’ outstanding players during the tournament, which ran for five weeks, are flanker Daniel Nyathi, centre players Genius Masuku and Kgosi Ndebele as well as forwards Tanaka Chikaka and Innocent Ncube.

Meanwhile, Highlanders finished third after beating Bulldogs 34-8 in a third-place play-off encounter.

@ZililoR

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