Rugby talent blows away Middleton

HARARE - Former Canada Sevens coach Liam Middleton expressed nothing but praise for Zimbabwe’s rugby talent residing in high density areas that was brought to the fore on Saturday at the 2016 edition of the Old Mutual Tag Rugby Under-12 national finals.

The finals took place at Eaglesvale High School on Saturday with Middleton, a former Zimbabwe Rugby Union Director of Rugby, amongst the supporting crowd.

The Level 4 qualified coach and coach educator was blown away with the skill he saw on display.

“Having worked at the top of the game, to come here and see these players at a development level I have got to say, it’s some of the most talented rugby players in the world at this age group are on the field,” he said.

“I am hugely impressed on how good these kids are and its all nature . . . the natural talent is unbelievable.”

Middleton’s sentiments were echoed by former England women’s rugby captain Catharine Spencer who was in the country specifically to support the event.

“I am amazed on how skilful, athletic, and fast these kids are!” she said.

Tag Rugby national manager Tinashe Shamu attributed the skill on display to Old Mutual’s support.

“The leagues run from January until now (October), very few kids around the world are playing rugby that much,” Shamu said.

“These boys and girls will do great things, play for their nation one day and hopefully some become professional rugby players.”

Saturday’s nationals finals were intensely contested amongst provincial representatives from the four Tag rugby leagues drawn from Harare, Bulawayo, Hwange and Victoria Falls.

Chitugwiza Elephants and Victoria Falls Tigers made it into the cup final following a great brand of rugby played in the pool stages

It was intense end to end rugby as both teams put their best foot forward in a bid to be crowned national champions.

In the end it was the Tigers from Victoria Falls that edged 8-5 winners over determined Chitungwiza Elephants.

Tag rugby format has been well received by parents of the participants as it is non-contact version of rugby and sees both and girls sharing the field.

In this format the skills of passing and evasive running are the key areas of focus.

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