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Zim rugby hoping for happier new year

THE Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) is hoping the new year brings about a change in fortunes as they seek to put behind them a disappointing 2020 season which was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

The local rugby governing body was bracing for a busy schedule this year with the Sables’ participation in the revamped Rugby Africa Cup and the SuperSport Challenge as well as the Cheetahs’ participation in the Olympic Games’ qualifiers headlining the packed season.

However, the advent of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which wreaked havoc across the globe, robbing many of their livelihood and worse still, their lives, effectively ensured the bumper season ended before it had even begun.

With rugby considered a high risk contact sport by local authorities, it is one of the several sporting codes whose entire season schedule was cancelled.

ZRU president Aaron Jani (pictured below) admitted that his association was happy to leave 2020 behind and hopeful of a better season in 2021.

“As ZRU we happy to leave 2020 behind,” Jani told Standardsport in an interview yesterday. “It’s a year we had big plans for that would never materialise.”

The former Sables winger is, however, pleased with the progress his board made on the administrative side of the game.

He expressed confidence in the work put in by his administration to ensure the Sables qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. The country’s national rugby sevens side, affectionately known as the Cheetahs, still have a chance of qualifying for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics via the répechage tournament to be held next year.

“Despite the challenges we faced this year due to Covid-19, we did, however, manage to get our house in order. We have moved all our plans to 2021 and we are certainly hopeful for a much better year rugby-wise. Our focus is to prepare for the World Cup Qualifiers for Sables, do well in the repecharge for Cheetahs and improve our ranking for the women’s national team,” Jani said.

 

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