Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
TEN primary schools from Hwange and Victoria Falls yesterday took part in a schools Tag Rugby Tournament sponsored by Tag Rugby Trust in conjunction with Atlas Foundation.
The tournament was held at Chamabondo Primary School in Victoria Falls, with Ingagula of Hwange coming tops.
Tag rugby is a non-contact version of rugby where players do not physically tackle each other.
Each player has two tags on either side of the waist and pulling them off is considered a tackle.
All other rugby rules apply.
Tag Rugby Trust country manager Tinashe Shamu said the tournament, which is meant to make the sport a household name, has reached out to more than 10 000 kids and 1 000 teachers in seven provinces.
“Tag Rugby Trust is a charity organisation and in 2011 we introduced tag rugby which is a non-contact sport. This is an opportunity for boys and girls to break social barriers as we teach them rugby so they can make teams while also getting mentorship, counselling and awareness,” he said.
He said the sport was receiving resounding support with Matabeleland South, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West the only provinces that are yet to embrace it.
The teams were mixed, each with four boys and an equal number of girls in-field as well as two substitutes.
Shamu said this was meant to inculcate gender equality.
England’s highest capped and World Cup winning former captain Jason Leonard, who is the brains behind Atlas Foundation, was guest of honour after financing the tournament.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union vice president Martin Shone said this is a perfect platform to develop talent.
“There is a lot of talent here especially from the girl child and there is a deliberate programme to make sure those who show talent will go to rugby playing secondary schools. This is a great initiative done by Tag Ruby and as the union we support it,” he said.
Shone said it is such grassroots programmes that lead to talent identification, with national team players such as Biselele Tshamala, Connor Pritchard and Ziyanda Khupe coming from such structures in Matabeleland North province.
Participating schools included Chinotimba, Chamabondo, Education Centre, St Josephine Bhakitha and Victoria Falls Select (all from Victoria Falls), St Ignatius, Lwendulu, St George’s, Mabinga and Ingagula from Hwange. — @ncubeleon