Highly rated South Africa-based Zimbabwean rugby starlet Vernon Matongo has made a big step in his fledgling rugby career after signing his first professional contract at South African rugby union franchise Western Province.
Matongo’s handlers Esportif, who represent players across the full talent spectrum, from junior players to fully-fledged internationals, congratulated their client on his career breakthrough in a statement yesterday.
“Congratulations to our big man Vernon Matongo who has worked incredibly hard this year to earn himself a professional contract with DHL Western Province. Vernon is currently studying at Stellenbosch University and was involved in the Western Province Under20 side that was involved in this year’s competition final. Well done Vern,” Esportif said.
The 19- year-old tight-head prop was an integral member of the Western Province Under-20 side which reached the Provincial Under-20 Championship final last month, where they narrowly lost 36-36 against the Lions.
After being rewarded with a professional contract Matongo has now set his sights on breaking into Western Province’s Currie Cup squad ahead of next season.
Matongo is widely regarded as one of the brightest rugby in Zimbabwean rugby.
He first made an impact as a mere 12-year-old prop when he played for Zimbabwe Under-13 at the 2014 Under-13 SA Rugby Craven Week in Durban while he was still at Alexandra Park Primary School in Harare.
After being awarded a scholarship at the famed Northwood School in Durban, Matongo was immediately snapped up by the Sharks.
He played for the Sharks Under-16 and Under-18 sides at the Craven Week the following year before earning selection to the South Africa Under-16 team and the South Africa Rugby Union Elite Player Development Rugby camp in 2018.
Last year, the former Northwood School’s rugby team’s vice-captain and head prefect was awarded a full rugby scholarship at Stellenbosch University where he will be studying towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting Science.
Northwood School yesterday congratulated Matongo on his contract at Western Province.
“Well done to Old Boy and former Head Prefect Vernon Matongo (2020) on signing a professional contract with WP rugby. Well done Vernon!”
Matongo is expected to play an important role in the Sables’ bid to qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
He was recently included in the national team squad which is currently participating in the World Rugby Stellenbosch Challenge in Stellenbosch but withdrew from the squad due to academic commitments.