Pitbulls enhanced their status as a rising force on the domestic rugby circuit after upstaging favourites Harare Sports Club 26-21 in a thrilling final to win the Engen 7s Series Powered by Black Box tournament at Old Georgians Sports Club on Saturday.
It was a case of third time lucky for the youthful Pitbulls side after missing out on the Paramount Garments Sevens before making amends by finally going all the way to win the Engen 7s.
On their way to the final Pitbulls defeated Old Hararians 21-10 in the semi-finals while Harare Sports Club secured a hard-fought 19-12 victory over Old Georgians in the other last-four encounter.
Pitbulls head coach Geoff Madhake said he was delighted to see his young side finally going all the way after coming close in the last couple of tournaments on the domestic sevens circuit.
“Basically coming into the competition, it wasn’t easy, we started off shaky. In the first event, we came third, and in the last event we finished second, and obviously, now we have come first and are the champions. I just want to appreciate the youngsters for their effort to come to practice and we did talk about getting better and they did get better even though we have a very youthful side,” Madhake said.
The fiercely passionate rugby coach, who has mentored the Pitbulls side since its formation five years ago singled out the Pitbulls Rugby captain Takudzwa Mundandishe for individual praise after he led his side from the front in the competition.
“They are a very young side and a couple of the boys are slightly older like Mundandishe, who is the captain. He is a great thinker and we made sure that we planned our game plan around him so that he could guide the youngsters. But (overall) I’m very proud of the kids they have done fantastically well and I’m glad we are getting better all the time,” he said.
The Harare-based club which has in recent years produced very talented players such as Sharks loose-forward Tino Mavesere and Canada sevens rugby team star Matthew Oworu put on
Their latest success in the sevens formant comes after their development side was crowned the 2022 Paramount Garments U20 League Champions early this year.
Pitbulls’ fifteens side has also been punching above their weight despite losing most of their players to the more established local rugby clubs.
Meanwhile, Police Defenders Queens were crowned the Engen 7s Series Powered by Black Box women’s champions after overcoming Old Georgians Women’s rugby team 19-14 in the final.
Police Defenders scored a last-gasp converted try on the buzzer to secure the victory.