Rugby agrees with Coltart: Murambiwa

HARARE - Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) technical advisor Godwin Murambiwa says the union and the rugby community “generally” back Sports minister David Coltart’s selection panel directive, which requires selectors to have played at the highest level of competition in the particular discipline.

Murambiwa, a former national side coach widely regarded as one of the country’s best rugby brains, said the proposed benchmark will safeguard standards if implemented.

Although largely passive, rugby is one of major sporting disciplines in the country where national teams are chosen by a selection panel.

“I agree, all sports must be transparent. I think what he (Coltart) is saying makes sense going forward. It’s about governance and transparency,” said Murambiwa.

“Look, the selectors at least need to have that experience.

“Whether we are saying Sables, Under-21. They are all national teams. That criterion does work.

“You can’t have anyone as a selector. In rugby, we do have a talent identification programme where people get trained by the IRB on talent identification. These people are an exception.

“As rugby, we generally agree with the minister. This is actually the position of ZRU.”

As opposed to South Africa, rugby in Zimbabwe opened up to the black populace much earlier than cricket, and Murambiwa believes former minority sports in Zimbabwe have produced a good number of yesterday players of colour to assume key positions on merit.

Murambiwa said while Zimbabwean rugby pride itself in racial diversity, the fact that blacks generally dominate the sport has reduced racial rows in the sport.

“We are different with cricket so I cannot speak for them,” said Murambiwa, who played his rugby at Marondera High and Prince Edward before injury cut short his playing career.
“Rugby, technicality speaking, is mostly run  by black people.

“The top clubs, Old Hararians and Harare Sports Club, are run by blacks. Even the first teams of the Group ‘A’ schools mostly have black players with the exception of a few.

“If we keep going to skin colour every time things go wrong, then it’s a step in the wrong direction. Resorting to the race card all the time is very detrimental.

“Us blacks dominate rugby in this country, (but) we have a president (John Falkenburg) who is white and a Sables coach (Brendan Dawson) who is also white. Doug Trivella is also the Under-17 coach. We want that diversity. For Zim it looks good.”

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