Falcon dominate Craven Week Under-14 squad

HARARE - Lomagundi College, a pristine private educational institution outside Chinhoyi, was the choice-venue for the intense, two-day Old Mutual-sponsored Under-14 national rugby trials held at the weekend.

The rugby extravaganza enabled a group of astute rugby men with a proven eye-for-talent, to hand-pick a competitive 22-man squad of the very-best Zimbabwean rugby athletes at Under-14 level.

At the end of a fun-filled two days; amidst much-conferring, constructive debate and counter-questioning, the national selectors, Max Madziva (convenor), Costa Dinha, Tan Dinhidza and Orlando Fernandes, guided by the head coach of the national Under-14 squad, Godwin Pangeti; a professional tear-away rugby back in his day, dutifully settled on a pleasing group of boys that will do battle for Zimbabwe in the rugby cauldron of Mpumalanga, South Africa.

Gangling Craig Snyder of Falcon College was probably the biggest omission but he is still in with an outside shout as he is listed as the first of four non-travelling reserves.

Zimbabwe will participate at the highly-competitive Craven Week festival in June. The Craven Week is a long-standing, high-status event held annually in rugby-mad South Africa, for boys’ age-group teams.

At the trials, Harare and Matabeleland provinces exhibited their usual dominance. It is undeniable, there's strength in numbers; naturally, Harare and Matabeleland provided most of the boys to the Junior Sables.

Falcon College from Esigodini, contributed five boys. St John's College matched the number. The other boys were from Midlands Christian College (3), St. George's College (3), Hellenic Academy (2) and Lomagundi (1).

The times they are a-changing; mission schools, Hartzell High and St Ignatius College, devoid of any meaningful rugby traditions, provide a player each, in what may be a first for Zimbabwean rugby at this level; remarkable evidence that efforts to spread the game over the years have not gone to waste.

Five boys won each an individual award, but the most-coveted award of the tourney, the Player of the Tournament, was won by the tall, strong-running Thabani Jehiel "TJ" Maguranyanga of Falcon.

Maguranyanga did enough to convince the selectors that indeed he was número uno. He scored two astonishing, jinx-past-everyone tries in the space of mere minutes, for his adopted Matabeleland Province against Harare Select, employing his trademark, indomitable speed and a powerful hand-off.

Tough-as-teak St John's College forward, Brian Java picked up a concerning injury but still made the squad as he was expected to fully-recover before the squad travels to SA in June.

There was also an injury scare for Rua Karimazondo (one of the youngest members of the squad) also of St John's College, but he was also expected to fully-recover in time for the first training camp this weekend.

The sponsors of this national side, Old Mutual, would do well to cater for the major costs. The fly-in-the-soup for the Zimbabwe Craven Week youth squads, has been the burdensome requirement for each boy selected to cough-up hundreds of dollars towards meeting costs of flights, kit and so on.

Sadly, some deprived kids have pulled out of the Young Sables side after failing to raise the supplementary funds.

Consequently, such an unpleasant scenario dilutes the strength of what is supposed to be a truly-representative national side.

Zim Under-14 Squad: J Maguranyanga,K. Maringa,M. Hickey, J. Blatch,S. Ndlela (all Falcon College), B. Mason, B. Java, R. Karimazondo, C. Kawodza, C. Higgins (all St. John's College), T. Maravanyika, J. Nyamutora, P. Masaya (all Midlands Christian College),M. Masvikeni, M. Mhere, M. Manyangadze (all St. Georges College), J. Campbell, T. Zvidzai (both Hellenic Academy), V. Matongo (Hartzell), M. Maisera (Lomagundi College),T. Zvinairo (St. Ignatius College)

Comments (3)

This headline may be very controversial because there is an ongoing problem about Falcon dominating the U19 squad.

Jay B - 28 May 2015

Falcon have been quite dominant in schools rugby. A national team can have lots of players from one team. Look at Germany and Bayern Munich. Tradirionally, Falcon have dominated school squads. Falcon and St John's actually provided 5 players each to the under 14. Nothing wrong with that in my book if a team is good. Last year St John's Prep provided 13 players to the Hre Proivnce primary schools squad!!! John's literally murdered, in rugby terms, everyone they played against.

Farai - 29 May 2015

l'm so in luv wit rugby and to all other rugby fans thumps up

Luke Sibanda - 7 July 2015

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