Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
PRINCE Edward School first team rugby coach Shaun De Souza has attributed his team’s brilliant display which saw them win all the eight matches they played during the second term to being humble, respect for each other as well as the opposition.
The Godfrey Muzanaro-captained Tigers finished the schools season unbeaten, something which they last did in 2000. If the pre-season fixtures are also factored in, the record is 14 wins out of the 15 matches with their only defeat coming in March when they lost 27-10 to Windhoek Gymnasium during their tour of Namibia.
De Souza, a member of the PE Tigers team of 1996 which also went unbeaten believes their success was built around team unity, the close relationship the players have as well as admiration for their opponents.
“I think our success was based on team unity, the bond we built as a team, we committed ourselves to prayer, it kept us humble, respected the opposition. We all come from different religious backgrounds but the Almighty kept us going, praises to him,’’ De Souza said.
On whether they had planned to go the whole season unbeaten, De Souza said when they came back from the Namibian tour, they mapped out to achieve that and he is glad they managed to accomplish their goals.
“When we came back from our tour of Namibia, we planned to go unbeaten and we achieved it. We analysed our opponents, strategised on how they were playing. A lot of video analysis, lot of strategising went into our game plan,’’ he said.
De Souza described the away fixture against St George’s College Saints as the toughest, which saw Tigers trailing 22-7 and went on to win 28-22 in June. The former Sables wing has been PE head coach since 2014 and had never achieved such a feat.
Their season ended last Saturday as their away encounter against the Churchill Bulldogs which was scheduled for yesterday was called off after Reginald Querl, the headmaster in charge of schools rugby ruled that no referees would be allocated for the fixture. This followed an incident of referee abuse by Churchill coach Jeffrey Madhake after a match between the two teams at PE.
PE started off the season with a 24-14 triumph over Falcon College in Esigodini at the beginning of May, followed that up with a 22-15 win over Peterhouse in Marondera. The Tigers concluded their campaign with a 29-12 victory over Kyle College in Masvingo last Saturday. De Souza believes the season was tough since they played most of their big fixtures away from home.
“For us this season was difficult, a lot of our fixtures were away. To go the whole season unbeaten was an honour,’’ De Souza said.
From this year’s all conquering team, five are being retained for 2018. Flyhalf Tinashe Hombiro, scrumhalf Michael Mhute and prop Brendan Mudzikitiri should form the backbone of the Tigers next year. The three players were part of the Old Mutual Zimbabwe Under-18 team for last month’s Coca-Cola Craven Week at St Stithian’s College in Johannesburg, South Africa. Hombiro was the leading points scorer for the Tigers with 114, these coming from two tries, 43 conversions and six penalty goals.