Zimbabwe’s leading club rugby sides dominated the opening round of matches in the Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup as senior domestic rugby made its much awaited return at Old Georgians Sports Club on Saturday.
Harare Sports Club, boasting several new acquisitions, headlined by Sables skipper Hilton Mudariki, were the biggest winners on the day as they cruised to a 66-3 win over an inexperienced Manicaland Select outfit.
There were also dominant wins on the day for the other traditional giants Old Hararians and Old Georgians while Bulawayo Select.
OH cruised to an equally comprehensive 58-0 win over Southern City 58-0, while hosts OGs saw off a Harare Select side 42-8.
The Nedbank Challenge Cup is doubling as trials for locally-based players hoping to earn selection to the Goshawks side expected to feature in the Currie Cup First Division in South Africa next month.
Zimbabwe, who will be playing under the Goshawks’ banner, will be the second-tier Currie Cup tournament as preparations for the 2022 Africa Cup.
The winner of the Africa Cup to be staged in France will automatically qualify for the 2023 World Cup, while the runners-up would have to undergo another final round of qualifiers.
Meanwhile, the opening round of the Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup ran concurrently with round three of the Paramount Garments U20 League.
The U20 Premiership saw Pitbulls maintain their unbeaten run log courtesy of a 33-24 win over Old Georgians while second-placed Old Hararians secured a 31-8 win over FS Raiders.
In the women’s draw FS Raiders pulled a shock by upsetting leaders Zimbiru 5-0 in their encounter while in Division 1, Zimbiru continued their impressive run with a 33-7 win over Mabvuku to maintain their flawless start to the season.