Kamanda earns professional contract at Currie Cup side SWD Eagles

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Hilton Kamanda

South African rugby side South Western District (SWD) Eagles have announced the signing of Zimbabwean rugby player Hilton Kamanda ahead of next season’s Currie Cup First Division campaign.

The 1.91m and 112kg versatile forward, who can play both at lock and as a loose forward joins the professional ranks from Cape Town-based amateur club Progress RFC.

SWD Eagles revealed in a statement that Kamanda had earned his contract after impressing during a high-profile pre-season friendly match against top South African franchise DHL Stormers recently.

“Hilton took his opportunity in our match against the DHL Stormers in (early) September. His step into our professional group is proof that there are pathways from Club to Union and that our Club structures are producing quality players. His transition throughout preseason will be monitored closely as we look forward to working on his impressive explosiveness and ball-carrying skill sets,” SWD Eagles said in a statement.

Kamanda was rewarded for his consistency at the top Cape Town-based club Progress RFC with a call-up to the SWD Eagles side ahead of the pre-season match against the DHL Stormers at Outeniqua Park in George early this month.

During the encounter, the powerfully built Mufakose-bred rising rugby star impressed with his strong ball carries and dominance at the breakdown.

Hilton Kamanda in action for Progress RFC

One of the few rugby players to come out of the high-density suburb of Mufakose, Kamanda got his introduction to the sport at Mufakose High 1 before progressing to Mufakose Swallows Rugby Club.

After impressing at his boyhood club, Kamanda then moved to Harare Sports Club in 2015, playing a pivotal role in Sportivo’s dominance on the domestic circuit.

He was rewarded by earning selection into Zimbabwe’s development squad which toured Zambia in 2018.

A year later, Kamanda, with the help of the then Harare Sports Club head coach Danny Hondo, completed a move to the Western Cape-based outfit Progress RFC.

His initial spell at the side was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing suspension of sporting activities but since club rugby resumed in South Africa, Kamanda has been one of the top performers at his club.

He will be hoping to make an impact at the ambitious SWD Eagles outfit, which did well during the 2022 Currie Cup First Division after reaching the semi-finals, where they eventually lost to the losing finalists Eastern Province.

During the round-robin phase of the competition SWD Eagles outclassed the Zimbabwe Goshawks side 48-0 in a one-sided encounter at Outeniqua Park in George in May.

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