Over 180 schools will battle it out at the 2015 Diaribord Schools Rugby Festival amongst them are 30 girls schools, Botswana U19 boys national team and the festival is scheduled for 27 April up to 2 May.
This year’s edition of Diaribord Schools Rugby has a lot changes and additions ahead of the prestigious festival scheduled for next at Prince Edward High School in Harare.
Festival is expected to attract 180 schools across the country including 30 girls teams and amongst them is the Botswana under 19 boys national team that will participate at the festival this year.
The festival’s Programme Director, Sebastian Garikai revealed an array of new things to expect at the Diaribord Schools Rugby festival 2015 at press conference held at Prince Edward on Tuesday.
“This year you will see a record of 30 girls teams participating in the fiesta and to top it up, there will be six female referees also for the first time in competition’s history,” revealed Garikai.
Garikai went on to mention that the this year’s festival is also tough with most of the favourite schools locking horns with big teams from the first day till the last encounter. He also revealed that there was a shortage of rugby referees in the country.
“We have decided to pair strength by strength this year which means that from day one up to day six it will be competitive rugby throughout.
“We do not have enough referees in the country at the moment but we have enough to cover the whole festival and also coaches without coaching certificates will be offered IRB level 1 international course during the festival,” said Garikai.
Zimbabwe Rugby Referees Association coordinator Walter Njohwa mentioned that there will be a pilot programme of shadow refereeing at this year’s Diaribord Schools Rugby Festival.
“This year we will introduce shadow refereeing at the festival and we have a group of 20 school leavers and female referees that will be shadowing the main referees during the proceeding of the match.
“We are facing shortages of referees at this year’s festival and most of the referees are school boy and school leavers,” revealed Njohwa.
The festival formerly known as the Cottco Rugby Festival is famous for churning out great rugby players such as Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, Charles Jiji, Tangai Nemadire among others.
The annual awards will be presented at the half-time of the penultimate match on Saturday and some of the awards are man of the match, festival fifteen, most improved side player of the tournament for both backline and forward.