PRETORIA – Former Zimbabwe captain and one-time Springbok hopeful Kennedy Tsimba has spoken of his joy at winning his first trophy as a professional coach in a prominent South African rugby competition.

The 47-year-old Tsimba last Monday guided UP-Tuks Under-20 to the FNB Young Guns title, beating NWU Eagles 22-14 in the final in Cape Town. 

The Young Guns championship is an Under-20 contest for university teams that play in South Africa’s prestigious Varsity Cup tournament, and matches are played on the same venue.

Despite featuring players aged 20 and below, the quality of the rugby isn’t any inferior and crowds interest across the country, just like in the senior competition, is huge.

South Africa’s Under-20 team, the Junior Springboks, is largely picked from the Young Guns league, boosting the status of the competition.

“I’m extremely proud to be winning this premier national tournament as it is very competitive and has a lot of good sides,” Tsimba told SportsCast from Pretoria.

“Varsity Cup has become the top competition in SA Rugby. Just the crowds and interest alone make it spectacular. It has become the main scouting ground for rugby teams across the world. I’m proud of this special group of players that have become 2022 champions. To add to it, we were able to win the senior Varsity Cup as well to make a double in one night.”

Tsimba has made an early impact after joining the University of Pretoria at the beginning of last season.

The former Sables flyhalf, who was the first black player to captain his native Zimbabwe, moved across town from St Alban’s College in Pretoria, where he was the director of rugby.

A World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee, Tsimba has previously remarked that he is inspired by the Springboks’ 2019 World Cup-winning coach, Rassie Erasmus, his former teammate at Free State Cheetahs.

University rugby, he said, is his first major step into coaching at the highest level of the game and has not hidden his ambition of one day joining the Springboks set-up. 


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