Dawson lauds improved competition in Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup

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L-R Sables team manager Jason Maritz, head coach Brendan Dawson and backs coach Daniel Hondo following the action in the Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup at FBC Old Hararians Sports Club last weekend

Sables coach Brendan Dawson says he has been impressed by the constantly improving level of competition shown by locally-based players in the Nedbank Rugby Challenge in recent weeks ahead of the competition final scheduled for Harare Sports Club on Saturday.

The 54-year-old legendary former Zimbabwe captain and his technical team members followed the season-opening competition with keen interest as it provided them with an opportunity to scout for local talent ahead of the Currie Cup First Division in South Africa next month.

While only a handful of locally-based players made it into the Goshawks and Sables expanded squad for the Currie Cup and the preceding Rugby World Cup qualifiers in France, Dawson believes the Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup has provided local rugby with a significant boost.

“I’ve certainly been impressed by the level of competition in the Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup and it’s something we can build on going forward,” Dawson told ZimSportLive in an interview.

“Like I said previously it was always going to be difficult for the players in the first couple of weeks because; they’d not played any competitive rugby in over two years. The standard has been much better in the last couple of weeks which is exciting.”

He added: “Obviously it was always going to be harder for the locally based players to make the Currie Cup squad but we’ve had a few who we want to have a real look at. I applaud Nedbank Zimbabwe for their continued support for Zimbabwe rugby through their sponsorship of this competition.”

The curtain will come down on the Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup with Old Georgians clashing against Old Hararians in the final at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.

In the curtain-raiser match, Harare Sports Club will take on the national Under-20 High-Performance Squad, which is using the competition to prepare for the U20 Barthés Trophy – Rugby Africa’s Under 20 Tournament which will be played in Kenya from April 9 to 17.

Meanwhile, Kenyan rugby referee Duncan Kioko will officiate the final of the Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup between Old Hararians and Old Georgians at the Harare Sports Club, Harare on Saturday.

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