A Zimbabwe U18 school girls team will again this year compete during the South Africa National Girls Week, which will be hosted at Jeppe High School in Johannesburg from the 25th to the 29th of June as part of the South Africa Rugby Youth Week, that will feature U16 and U18 teams battling it out at one venue in the same week in an exciting new development.
The U16 Girls Week, which started in 2011, returns this year after last year’s edition featured only U18 teams, meaning there will be non-stop action over the five days.
The girls U18 team has been Zimbabwe’s beat performing youth side during the Youth Week Rugby festivals held annually in South Africa eclipsing the U18, U16 and U13 boys’ sides.
“The girls side has been a cut above the rest since its debut in 2015 in Durban and will be hoping to continue their fine form during this year’s tournament to be held at Jeppe High School, in Joburg,” said the national U18 girls rugby coach Nsikelelo “Sykes” Sibanda.
All the four youth teams are sponsored by Old Mutual as part of the broad sponsorship of local schools rugby, covering development of teams from disadvantaged communities as national teams.
“Technically we have a better side this year despite the majority of girls coming from rural and high density schools. Their ball handling skills are exceptional considering they are coming from Sahumani and St Columbus in Bulawayo, Vainona, Roosevelt and Goromonzi.
The U16 teams will kick off the competition on Monday, the 25th of June, and play their second round of matches on Wednesday, the 27th of June, while the U18’s will play on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.
Both tournaments will conclude on Friday, 29 June, following a jam-packed day of rugby.
A total of 16 teams will battle it out in each of the competitions, with the national girls U16 week featuring the Blue Bulls, Boland, Border, Border Country Districts, Eastern Province, Free State, the Golden Lions, Griffons, Griquas, Kwazulu-Natal, the Leopards, Limpopo, the Pumas, South Western Districts and Western Province A and B teams.
The National Girls U18 week, meanwhile, will see the Blue Bulls, Boland, Border, Border Country Districts, Eastern Province, The Leopards, Free State, Golden Lions, Griffons, Griquas, Kwazulu-Natal, Limpopo, The Pumas, South Western Districts, Western Province and Zimbabwe battle it out for top honours.
Boland will meet the Free State, and Western Province B takes on Limpopo in the opening matches of the U16 National Girls Week respectively, while Border, who took top honours in the last U16 tourney two years ago, will meet South Western Districts in the final match of the day.
Hosts, Golden Lions, meanwhile will go up against Eastern Province.
In the National Girls U18 week, Western Province, who were the top team last season, will get the competition underway against South Western Districts on the A field, while the Leopards and Border Country Districts will meet on the B field.
Border, who met the cape side in the final match last year, will take on Limpopo.
The fixtures for the last two rounds of each tournament will be determined by the previous day’s results.
The National Girls Week will run concurrently with the Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) Week in Vanderbijlpark.
Last year, the Nsikellelo “Sykes” Sibanda coached side set the bar high after winning all their three games in Welkom, Free State Province, their best performance to date is beating Griquas 39-5, Limpopo Blue Bulls 5-0 and another impressive 20-15 victory over Boland.