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Zimbabwe's Rugby Revolution: How Victory and the Internet are Changing Perceptions

by Staff Reporter
23 Oct 2018 at 11:09hrs | Views
When it comes to rugby in Africa, South Africa has always been the game's continental home. Although the country's reputation had been established before 2007, the Springbok's Rugby World Cup victory over England cemented their reputation as one of the game's best. Although South Africa isn't likely to relinquish its status as Africa's top rugby-playing nation any time soon, the dynamics are shifting. Thanks to increased coverage and opportunities, other African nations are embracing the game like never before.

Zimbabwe Bidding to Become Africa's Top Nation

(CC BY-SA 2.0) by benwebboz

The latest country to emerge from the new rugby-centric culture is Zimbabwe. Taking part in the Rugby Africa Sevens Championship 2018, Zimbabwe coasted through to the final with an unbeaten record. Despite being in fine form, Kenya were the hotly tipped favorites heading into the final. However, when the final whistle was blown, Zimbabwe's finest had made it look easy after romping to a 17-5 victory in the coastal city of Monastir, Tunisia. While the title might not be as impressive as a World Cup win, it is a testament to the changing nature of sport in Zimbabwe.

Over the last few decades, Zimbabwe has produced a number of elite level players, including Salty du Rand and Gary Teichmann. However, despite the local talent, many players have gone on to play abroad or represent different countries. This migratory culture has seen participation dwindle over the years. Today, there are just 17 registered rugby union clubs in Zimbabwe and approximately 33,000 players. In contrast, Club Rugby SA notes that there are 885 clubs in South Africa. However, despite lagging behind other African nations, change is on the horizon.

Interest in Rugby is Increasing

Zimbabwe's recent Africa Sevens win will undoubtedly generate some buzz around the sport. Beyond that, access to information about rugby is changing. Thanks to the internet, fans and prospective fans can go online and learn about the sport's latest developments. Social media is the obvious way to stay in touch with the top headlines and players. However, online bookmaking sites can also be a well of information. To supplement their odds, operators have experts covering the latest rugby union betting news. These stories can range from match previews and injury reports to results recaps.

Beyond betting sites, YouTube stands out as a top resource for anyone wanting to engage more with rugby. Highlights are easier to find than ever thanks to broadcasters like BT Sport and posting official clips. What's also becoming popular is tutorials. From YouTubers like Jacob McDonald to professional players such as James Haskell, novices can learn new skills via the internet. Although Zimbabwe has a long way to go until it catches up with South Africa in terms of rugby achievements, things are changing. The recent win in Tunisia is a great example of that and, potentially, the catalyst that leads to more success on the pitch in the coming years.

Source - Byo24News