by Kundai Marunya
The inclusion of female rugby teams at the Dairiboard Schools Rugby Festival in 2012 was a well-received development that could see the growth of the sport largely dominated by men in the coming years.
Gradually the participation of female teams has grown, and three years later, this year, the numbers are a whopping 30 participants from 12 in the year of inception.
And the increase in numbers has also seen the increase in interest of the play.
Festival director Sebastian Garikai said, “Our school-girl rugby programme will continue and has taken giant steps this year.
“A record 30 girls teams will showcase their prowess on these very field of play.”
Six teams among them Girls High School, Mbare High, Vainona and George Stark were able to harvest all the attraction as they played in the premier Jubilee Field while the rest tore each other in the Avenues Field, a ground specially reserved for girls teams.
Garikai said the festival is aimed encouraging the sport as well as develop health.
“The festival envisions rugby as the most suitable vehicle to improve the health and education of school pupils and to promote rugby by encouraging the playing of the game at this level, thereby creating a wider player base for ultimate participation at senior and national level,” he said.
Over the years, the festival has seen the participation of several international teams from countries like Namibia, Zambia, Uganda, South Africa and Botswana but never has an international ladies team came for the showcase.
Organisers are however aiming for improvements so as to make the festival as best as it can be in balancing gender differences.