It's semi-final time in NRL

HARARE - It's all systems go as the big boys of the National Rugby League (NRL) battle it out for a spot in the final.

Champions Old Georgians’ title defence face an acid test when they travel to Bulawayo to take on Matabeleland Warriors in a potentially-thrilling semifinal clash at Hartsfield Stadium tomorrow.

While the Harare giants will start as favourites to progress through to the final, they have been poor travellers this season, a worrying factor for player-coach Grant Mitchell.

On their last visit to the City of Kings, OGs were lost narrowly 21-20 to their opponents tomorrow, a huge indication that this fixture will be another humdinger of a match.

A close analysis of the two teams shows that the side which makes the least mistakes will likely win the encounter.

The Bulawayo side will bank on their forwards, especially the front row of tight-head Kudzai Mudzekenyedzi, hooker Aubrey Dube and loose-head Tapiwa Mangezi.

These three are capable of disrupting OGs upfront, an area the champions have struggled with all season.

In the other semifinal, bitter rivals Harare Sports Club, runners-up in the last three seasons, come face-to-face with former glamour club Old Hararians in the third Harare derby of the season.

Sports Club enter this fixture as favourites, having completed a season’s league double over the Green Machine. Sportivo triumphed 22-17 and 27-20 in the season.

HSC have proved to be the team with depth this season despite losing their skipper Shingi Mpofu to Scottish outfit Ayr two weeks ago.

Sports Club boost quite number of good open-side flanks.

Eddie Manyere is very capable of fitting the boots left by Mpofu and could be the team’s silent triumph card this weekend.

OH captain, Tichafara Makwanya, is hoping for a change of fortune where it matters most.  

Said the Sables flyhalf: “It is going to be another tough match against Sports Club. We just have to start well unlike the previous two meetings where we started badly and had to chase the game. It was too late.” - Brian Matamba

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