By Wellington Toni
NATIONAL rugby team coach Peter de Villiers will not be fired by the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) despite a dismal 2018 season.
The decision was taken at the weekend’s union review of the season where ZRU president Aaron Jani said de Villiers will stay on until the end of his contract.
“On Saturday September 29, we had our third board meeting for the year. It was lengthy, but very fruitful. The matter that dominated the deliberations was our Gold Cup campaign.
“The board felt that perhaps our goal to win the Gold Cup was too ambitious given the background of where we were coming from. We had no proper league structures to support the campaign and no strength and conditioning structures.”
“The board noted that we performed well below expectations, but there were good signs towards the last two games, especially Namibia and Uganda. Given the youthfulness of our squad, the board was encouraged and optimistic about the future as we saw purpose and structure in these games.
“As far as speculation on the coach was concerned, the board resolved to continue with the two-year contract that we have with the coach. We have decided to strengthen the support and systems around the coach.”
To support the Sables development, ZRU will revive the National Rugby League and will apply to join the even competitive SuperSport Rugby Challenge in South Africa.
“We will have a very strong and competitive national league comprising six teams. To qualify to compete, each team must present a woman’s side and an under-21 side as a precondition,” Jani said.
“We resolved to apply to SARU [South Africa Rugby Union] for entrance into the Super Sport Challenge. We also resolved to strengthen the selection panel. The Zimbabwe Academy structures are now operational which will serve as an incubator for talent and the first game for our u23 Academy will be in November against Naka Bulls from South Africa.”
In the 2018 Gold Cup, which also doubled as the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifiers, the Sables won just once, drew once and lost three times and survived relegation in the match.