'Negativity destroying Zim rugby'

HARARE - Harare Rugby League chairperson Roger Woodward believes negativity among the key stakeholders is destroying the game in the country.

Zimbabwe took part in the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia. The Sables also took part in 1991 World Cup in England.

Since then rugby has been on the decline with many talented and young Zimbabwean players opting to seek greener pastures in South Africa and overseas.

The Sables, who used to be the second highest-ranked team on the continent only behind the Springboks, now lose to emerging nations Namibia, Kenya and Uganda.  

Speaking at the indaba organised by the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) and Kyros Sports at the weekend, Woodward said: “Someone who used to be in the administration in ZRU found out that I’m now the chairman of Harare province. He said ‘Why are you even bothering yourself? There is no future for rugby in this country. There is nothing!’

“But can I tell you something. I looked at him and I thought; this is the negativity that is destroying Zimbabwean rugby. We need to be positive. We need to look at the future.

“If we keep look at the past and see the mistakes that were happening there, we don’t need that anymore. We need to look at the future and aim at our goals.”

With the Sables now relegated to the Africa Cup Group 1B for next year, qualification for the 2019 World Cup will be difficult.

Woodward reckons there is enough talent across the country to feed into the squad.

“The Sables are there but they just need more help. There are a lot of things that is happening in terms of club rugby,” the Old Johannians team manager said.

“Two years ago there were only two clubs that started up. At the beginning on this year we had three new clubs that entered into the system. Two more clubs will be joining next year, so if the rugby is dead in this country, where are these clubs coming from?

“There are so many rugby players out there, after school they don’t get to play. We need to find ways of getting them into the system.”     

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