May 2, 2023

ZRU basks in Young Sables glory

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Innocent Kurira

THE Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) says winning the Barthes Trophy for the second year running is a result of a fully functional school system.

Zimbabwe won this year’s Under-20 competition on Sunday after beating Kenya 28-7 in the final.

The result means Zimbabwe defended the title they won last year.

The Junior Sables have now won the competition five times, since the inaugural edition in 2007 as they close in on record winners and rivals Namibia, who have won the competition nine times.

On their way to the final, the Panashe Zuze-captained Zimbabwe defeated Tunisia 60-6 in the semi-finals while the host nation won 24-13 over Namibia in the other last four encounter. In the quarter-final,

Zimbabwe thumped Ivory Coast 55-0. ZRU vice president Martin Shone says the future is bright for Zimbabwean rugby.

“This is a plus for us as ZRU because it is clear that the programmes we have put in place are working.

The Under-20’s are a product of the school system. The link between the schools and the clubs is the reason we are having this positive movement.

From here what we need is to have an Under-23 side so that we do not disband these guys. We have to make sure that they develop all the way into the senior national team.

What is important now is to make sure these guys get game time. The future is certainly bright for Zimbabwean Rugby,” said Shone.

Kenya’s win over Namibia last Wednesday saw Zimbabwe qualify for the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy, which the Kenyans will once again host from July 15 to 30.

This is because the top team from the Barthes tourney and the hosts qualify for the global showcase.

The World Rugby Under-20 Trophy is the second tier competition below the main competition the World Rugby Under-20 Championship which is also returning for the first time since Covid-19 and will be hosted by South Africa from June 24 to July 14.

The Zimbabwean team has received support from the Government and they were hosted by President Mnangagwa at State House prior to their departure for Kenya.

The age-group teams are the future of any sport and it is important to support them.

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