Shingi Mpofu joins Scottish outfit Ayr

HARARE - Zimbabwe rugby international Shingi Mpofu has become the second local player to join Scottish top flight club Ayr Rugby Football Club.

The former Harare Sports Club captain and flanker penned a two-year deal at the club, linking up with fellow Sables star and former Sports Club teammate Denford Mutamangira.

Mutamangira was an instant hit at Ayr after joining earlier this year, guiding the club to the Scottish Cup final, where they lost 42-10 to eventual winners Gala in February.

Mpofu will be hoping for a similar script with Ayr.

“Our prop Denford is coming back and we have another Zimbabwean, Shingai Mpofu, who is an openside flanker, which is part of a development exchange we have set up to help Zimbabwe players develop their skills, and with a cultural side to the exchange as well,” Ayr coach Kenny Murray told the club’s website.

“A big aim for me at Ayr is to create the best environment for our players to develop, whether they’re local or come from afar. We’re lucky to enjoy a big support and they’ll enjoy watching new squad members such as Finn Russell, Kerr Gossman and Calum Forrester.”

Mpofu, a 26-year-old former Churchill schoolboy, has an impressive resume which dates back to 2004 when he represented Zimbabwe Schools in the CocaCola Craven Week.

He was named vice captain for Zimbabwe at the inaugural Under-19 World Junior Championships in South Africa the following year.

Mpofu has a National League title with Harare Sports Club under his belt and was a key member of the Sables squad which lifted the African rugby title in Tunisia in July.  

His move to Ayr was facilitated by former Zimbabwe Rugby Union president Themba Sibanda and South African agent Richard De Jager.

Both were also involved in Mutamangira’s transfer.

Upon arrival in Scotland, Mpofu featured for the club’s reserves side last weekend and scored a try in the 38-17 win over Dundee.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday from his base in Scotland, Mpofu said: “It is a dream move; people here are very welcoming and very nice. The game here is much more physical and intense than back home.

“I just need a couple of games to get used to it and hopefully break into the first team soon.

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