HARARE – Prince Edward School will be looking to bounce back to winning ways when they take on Falcon College at Jubilee Field this afternoon when the regular schools’ rugby season commences.
The Tigers suffered a morale sapping 24-19 defeat to Harare rivals Churchill Boys High last weekend on the final day of the Dairibord Schools Rugby Festival.
The fixture has not been kind to the Harare rugby powerhouse as they face a Falcon side which will use their big forwards to slowdown the game and counter the fast Tigers’ backs.
Prince Edward coach Shaun De Souza admitted the Mad Dogs will start the match as favourites and his side will have to be at their best to exert revenge for the 43-19 defeat they suffered in Esigodini last season.
“I think Falcon will be the team to beat again this season. They are a well-structured and balanced side. Everybody saw how well they played at the Dairibord festival,” De Souza said.
“We will be the underdogs when the match kicks off tomorrow. Our loss against Churchill makes us even more underdogs against Falcon.
“We had a good session yesterday and hopefully some of our guys who are injured can be fit and ready by tomorrow.”
Tigers captain Russell Dinha is still struggling with an ankle but has been included in the squad for today’s match.
The wing picked up the knock while in camp with the Junior Sables for the just ended World Rugby U20 Trophy.
Vice captain Munashe Nyamweda is also out injured together with Takudzwa Siyawamwaya.
De Souza said their objective would be to start their season on a winning note.
“Falcon are also the only team to have beaten us last season although we went on to win the championship,” he said.
“It’s always nice to quickly bounce back after a defeat and against Falcon this gives us a chance to redeem ourselves.
“It’s just unfortunate that no one wants to see the Tigers lose. Everyone wants to see us win all the games we play.
“This is a totally new team. I would like to think we are in a rebuilding phase at the moment. I only got four Upper Six players in this squad; the rest are juniors.”
Falcon’s game plan relies heavily on their big forwards like front rowers Cleopas Kundiona Jr, Tapiwa Mabhudhu and Simba Maringa.
In the backline, the half-back pairing of Benjamin Meredith and Sean Hinmers will look to dictate the pace and punch holes in the Tigers’ defence.
In another standout fixture on today, St John’s College will host Peterhouse in Rolf Valley hoping to start their campaign on winning note.
Scott Gray’s side showed that they will be one of the teams to watch this season after some scintillating performances during the Dairibord festival.
The Rams beat Lomagundi 45-7 in their first match before going to stun Falcon 21-18 in a thrilling encounter which had spectators on the edges of their seats.
They concluded their festival programme with a 27-10 victory over Eaglesvale.
After their thrilling win over the Tigers, Churchill’s Bulldogs travel to Masvingo this afternoon to face Kyle College.
St George’s College and Eaglesvale are also on the road as they travel to Bulawayo to face Christian Brothers College and Petra High respectively. Gateway High are at home to Midlands Christian College.