The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE will not have an opportunity to make a second appearance in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge as the South African Rugby Union is in the process of cancelling this year’s competition.
A letter sent to the Zimbabwe Rugby Union chief executive officer Sifiso Made by his Saru counterpart Jurie Roux indicated that the tournament was being scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This communication is herewith intended to formally advise you that the South African Rugby Union (SARU) is in the process of cancelling this year’s SuperSport Rugby Challenge (SRC) due to the current COVID-19 pandemic,’’ reads part of the letter sent on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union vice president South, Martin Shone said while they were disappointed by the cancellation, they appreciate that the safety of the players is the first priority.
“Obviously this is a big disappointment on our part but the health of the players comes first and with this pandemic we cannot take any chances. Rugby is a full contact sport and the tournament organisers felt that it was not safe and that’s why they cancelled it,’’ Shone said.
Zimbabwe made their debut in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge last year and used False Bay Rugby Club in Cape Town as their home ground. Despite finishing winless having lost the seven matches they played, the competition gave Zimbabwe good preparation for the Victoria Cup which the Sables won with five wins out of the six fixtures they played. It is Shone’s expectation that the players will continue to work on their fitness as they wait for the resumption of the sport.
“Hopefully the guys will be able to keep fit, they will be able to continue training, its quite sad it had to come to this, we were looking forward to competing in this tournament. The last time we did compete in this tournament it brought us good results, we won the Victoria Cup because guys were well conditioned, they were playing rugby at a very high level, competing with professionals,’’ said Shone.
This year’s edition of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge was meant to kick off on 25 April with Zimbabwe takin on the Sharks.
Saru have already cancelled all Youth Weeks this year, which means rugby playing Zimbabwean youngsters have nothing to look forward to in 2020.
Zimbabwe every year send their junior teams to the Under-13 Craven Week, Under-16 Grant Khomo Week, Under-18 Academy Week as well as Under-18 Girls Week.