Schools Rugby Fest Preps Begin

Preparations are now in full swing for next year’s Zimbabwe National Schools Rugby Championship, commonly known as the Dairibord Rugby Festival, set to return to its traditional venue of Prince Edward School in April and May.

The school’s sports department has already sent out a circular, inviting all rugby-playing schools in the country to submit their interest to participate in the six-day competition that is touted as the largest event of its kind in the world.

The dates for next year’s festival have since been released as April 30 to May 5, 2018.

This year’s event which witnessed some enticing clashes between PE Tigers and Churchill Bulldogs and St George’s and St John’s Colleges was one of the biggest ever on record with up to 150 schools participating and 3 800 players contesting.

According to Tawanda Jimu, the objective of the Zimbabwe National Schools Rugby festival is to spread the game to all corners of the country and subsequently the entirety of the African continent.

“It envisions rugby as the most suitable vehicle to improve the health and education of school pupils and to promote rugby by encouraging the playing of the game at this level thereby creating a wider player base for ultimate participation at the senior and national level,’’ said Jimu.

The festival also serves as an educational platform with a number of programmes lined up on the sidelines such as the Observer Programme, judo for rugby, adolescence issues, mentorship, sport and event management, coaching and refereeing clinics, career guidance and national affairs.

Also included, according to the circular, are visits to places of interest like the National Heroes Acre, Lion and Cheetah Park, Botanical Gardens and National Museum for all foreign visitors and other participants especially from outside Harare.

The festival has in the past attracted teams from around the region and this year featured Livingstone Karebelo College from Botswana and the Zambia Under-19 national team. Visiting referees were drawn from England, South Africa, Namibia and Kenya, among other countries.

Organizers said among some of the products to have been unearthed at the festival include Springbok greats Tonderai Chavhanga and Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira plus United States back rower Takudzwa Ngwenya. Ghana national coach Lovemore “Dallas” Kuzorera coached the PE U16 team at the festival.

The festival has in the last few years begun to include girls’ teams and since 2016 has incorporated primary schools. 

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