The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE might have failed to qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup via the recently held Rugby Africa Cup in France but the tournament seems to have opened doors for a number of Zimbabwean players to sign for French clubs.
The Sables fell at the semifinal stage when they lost to 34-19 to Namibia. More disaster struck for Zimbabwe when they lost 20-12 to Algeria in the third place playoff, a result which saw the Sables finish fourth at the tournament.
Zimbabwean players have used the time in France to secure deals with French clubs. Prop Bornwell Gwinji, centre Takudzwa Chieza and loose forward Johan du Preez have signed for French clubs at the end of the Rugby Africa Cup.
Gwinji, previously with False Bay in South Africa has signed a deal with Stade Dijonnais. He is a product of Matabeleland Warriors in Bulawayo.
“Our international has packed his bags at the beginning of the week in Dijon! We are very pleased to welcome to the ranks of Dijonna, our new right pillar, Bornwell Gwinji,’’ announced Stade Dijonnais.
Thomas Kohler, the Stade Dijonnais coach said “Bornwell is a young pillar who already has high-level experience in the South African Championship and Zimbabwe selection with whom he played the Africa Cup this summer in Aix-en-Provence. Explosive and active on the pitch, Bornwell will bring us all his power in the game and in the conquest phases.”
Chieza, who went the tournament on the books of False Bay is now with Le Havre Athletic Club, the same team that has signed Du Preez. Before his latest move, Du Preez was with Tele Viv Heat in Israel.
France is already home to a number of Zimbabwean rugby players. Shane Makombe, George Saungweme, Tapiwa Tsomondo, Riaan O’Neill and Cleopas Kundiona.
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