Over 13 teams take part in rugby tournament
The rugby extravaganza has attracted Zimbabwe Cheetahs and their select side Goshawks, the South Africa Airways rugby team, Botswana national and university teams, Republic of Swaziland national team, Uganda and Namibia 2001 winners Mphumalanga and Eastern Province, both from South Africa. However, missing from the list are defending champions, Western Province of South Africa, who beat Cheetahs 38-0 in last year’s final. Zimbabwe team manager Bruce Hobson expressed confidence of bringing the floating trophy to the country, a step ahead of last year’s achievements. “Last year we lost in the final and I am hoping that we will do better this year. “We are also going to take part in the Tuskers in Kenya two weeks from now. I am also glad that the international guys made it for the festival because we are preparing for the Tuskers and we are using this as a preparatory stage because we get a lot of play time,” said Hobson. The eighth edition of the Mosi Sevens International Rugby tournament was once again sponsored by Zambian Breweries and is being hosted by Lusaka Rugby Club. Mosi Sevens organising committee media liaison officer Davey Sakala said they were hoping that a French club would also take part in the tournament. Six teams from the Zambian Super 8 League are also participating in the with the Zambia national Sevens A and B teams. Sakala disclosed that clubs were free to use players from teams not selected or from anywhere else to play under their name since the tournament was invitational. He said the format had been adopted to expose as many local players as possible to international competition. He said the move would also give an opportunity for Zambian fans to see their favourite teams competing against the top teams from elsewhere. “The Mosi Sevens 2006 is definitely on at the Lusaka Showgrounds and this promises to be an action and fun-packed weekend. In addition to first-class international rugby, there will be entertainment for the whole family, including skydiving and kids’ entertainment area,” Sakala said. The tournament is also utilising the services of 12 international referees, four of them based in Zambia, while Zimbabwe, Namibia, Great Lions and Blue Bulls Rugby Unions, both of South Africa, would provide two referees each. The Blue Bulls referees expected are Chris Bartman and Piet Botha, who have both conducted referees coaching clinics in Zambia before. This year’s clinics was held on June 9 by referees from Lions Rugby Union of South Africa. Zambian Breweries last month unveiled US$20 000 (about K66 million) worth of sponsorship, Holiday Inn have pumped in US$30 000 (about K99 million) to go towards accommodation of the teams, with Chilanga and Deloitte & Touche being the other companies that have contributed towards sponsoring tournament.