THE Dairibord Schools Festival, which is commonly regarded as one of the longest-running school rugby festivals in the world, gets underway at Prince Edward School in the capital this morning with 150 schools participating in what promises to be an action-packed seven days of exciting junior rugby.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Dairiboard Schools Rugby Festival’s tournament director, Tawanda Jimu said the decrease in the number of participating teams from 190 last year to 150 was meant to improve the level of quality of the matches.
Jimu, who is also the director of sports at Prince Edward, said they have however, increased the number of girls’ teams from 30 to 34 teams in a bid to promote the sport among the girls.
In addition, schools from neighbouring countries such as Botswana, Zambia and Namibia are also expected to take part in the festival.
“We have 150 schools which have confirmed their participation, 34 girls’ teams will be taking part, which is an increase from last year’s 30. We also have 16 foreign teams which will be participating.
“The reduction in the number of participants is a deliberate ploy to increase the quality of the games. We need more time with less schools,” said Jimu.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union vice president Noddy Kanyangarara also emphasised the importance of the event on the rugby landscape in Zimbabwe.
“This festival is important to Zimbabwe as a whole because it brings development teams. Girls competition has been introduced and it’s a development that is very huge and a lot of players in the national team have come through this event,” he said.
There will be two international officials from the United Kingdom to officiate at the festival which runs until Saturday while a record 25 women officials will also officiate during the festival.
The Dairiboard Schools Rugby Festival also serves as an educational platform for programmes to do with anti-doping education, career guidance, adolescent issues as well as coaching and refereeing clinics.
Selected Day One Fixtures:
Jubilee Field: Jameson v Sodbury, Royal College v Marist Brothers Nyanga, George Stark v Victoria High, Hilcrest College 2nd v Trust Academy, Girls High School v Goromonzi, Vainona Girls v Roosevelt, Eaglesvale 2nd v St Johns Emerald Hill, Prince Edward 2nd v St Johns College 2nd
Chapel Field (All Girls Teams): Lord Malvern v Nhowe, Zengeza 4 v Hatcliffe, Glen View 2 v Morgan High, Dombo v St Columbus, Mother Touch v Queen Elizabeth, George Stark v Mutetere, Christ Ministries v Dzivarasekwa High 2, Victoria High v Mt Pleasant, Mbare High v Dzivarasekwa High 1
Rhodes Field (Under-16 Teams): George Stark v Zengeza 1, Zengeza 4 V Dzivarasekwa 1, Mbare High v Chindunduma, Sahumani Girls v Zengeza 1 Girls, Highfield High 1 Girls v Harare High Girls, Dombo v Highfield High 2, Sodbury Girls v Tafara High 1 Girls