By ELIAS CHIPEPO –
THE Zambia Rugby Union (ZRU) has re-introduced the inter-provincial rugby championships between the Copperbelt and the Midlands which will be used as the process of picking national teams at all levels.
And the 2014 Buildcon league will kick-off on February 22, with traditional opening matches at various venues.
ZRU general secretary Francis Chitambo announced yesterday that the union resolved during its council meeting held in Kalulushi recently, that the inter-provincial matches between the Copperbelt and the Midlands be re-introduced to add value to the quality of national team players.
Chitambo said national selectors would utilise the Copperbelt versus Midlands encounters to pick national teams for the 15s and Sevens national teams, as a way of having strong players representing the national.
“It was resolved during the council meeting which we held in Kabwe recently that the provincial encounters be re-introduced and we have incorporated them on the 2014 fixtures which we have circulated to all the affiliates,” Chitambo said in a statement.
He said the provincial sides will have their own coaches and will pick their players, who will compete for national players.
The best players to be picked from the Copperbelt and Midlands sides will form the national sides.
Chitambo said the first encounter between the two provincial sides will be played on April 5 on the Copperbelt while the return leg has been set for April 26 in the Midlands.
Meanwhile, the ZRU Buildcon league opens on February 22 and Chitambo said all the clubs will play their traditional opening games on this date, followed by the Nchanga 10s in Chingola on March 1.
According to the fixtures circulated to all the affiliates, the first league matches will be played on April 12 with Buildcon league defending champions Red Arrows travelling to Kalulushi against promotion side Chibuluma.
Another promotion side Nkwazi will lock horns with 2013 league runners-up “Men at work” Diggers in Lusaka while Green Eagles host Green Buffaloes in Kabwe and Roan travel for a date with “Powerhouse” Lusaka in the showgrounds.
In the B league, “Killer bees” Ndola Wanderers will be at home to Prisons, Mufulira travel to Kitwe for an encounter against Diggers B, Kansanshi will play against Konkola in Chililabombwe while Chambishi return to action at home with visiting Nchanga. Kitwe Playing Fields will be on bye.