About 18 schools took part in this year’s edition of the Midlands Christian School Old Mutual Insurance Annual Rugby 10s Festival from just eight in 2014 when the tournament began.
Consha Western Suburbs, a club focused on developing junior rugby from Bulawayo were crowned the 2018 Champions after beating Muwunga Primary School from Ascot Gweru in the finals last week.
The Old Mutual Insurance sponsored tournament saw 18 rural, urban government and private Primary Schools from across the country taking part in the tournament.
Speaking after this year’s edition, MCS Deputy Head and Tournament co-founder Tafadzwa Jesseniah said the Rugby festival was a success despite a clash in the calendar with the U13 Owen Davies Cup where four of the schools meant to participate travelled to.
“This year was quite a tricky one. The changes in the school calendar resulted in our tournament clashing with Owen Davies Tournament which is the U13 Interprovincial Rugby Cup in Harare.
“We managed to have 18 Schools this year including Kyle from Masvingo, Goldridge and Camelot from Kwekwe, Wise Owl from Marondera as well as Hippo Valley Estates Preparatory School from Chiredzi,” he said.
Jesseniah noted that there were improvements in the quality of play this year from rural and government schools.
“There has been a huge improvement, especially from rural schools and government schools who this year actually constituted more than half of teams and we hope to continue to grow as we have been doing and next year get more schools on board,” he said.
The tournament is a brainchild of Midlands Old Mutual Insurance Manager Zwelonke Mloiswa and Jesseniah which started in 2014 with a budget of just over US$7 000 which has also increased with more schools coming on board to more than US$10 000.
The tournament is also giving special focus on developing rural and disadvantaged schools which get an opportunity to compete with some of the top private schools in the country.
On the rural schools, this year was Maboleni Primary School’s third year running in the tournament and Sogwala Primary’s second following their inaugural participation last year where they were crowned the most promising team.
Both schools are from rural Lower Gweru area and started off without proper kits and training equipment but are now decently kitted.
One of the event organizers, who declined to be named due to protocol said they want the tournament to spread to all rugby playing Primary schools in the country if funds permit.
“We want to touch as many rugby playing Primary schools in the country as possible, but you should also note that if the budget permits because we don’t want to be forward as this takes processes and has to be done gradually, but that is our target,” said the source.
Government schools which participated include Takunda 1 Primary from Mkoba, Muwunga from Ascot, Cecil John Rhodes from Gweru urban, Senga and Matongo Primary from Senga, Redcliff Primary from Kwekwe as well as Hippo Valley.