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International Rugby Board vice-chairman Oregan Hoskins is expected to visit Zimbabwe for the first time in a weeks’ time, on official rugby business. Hoskins, who is also the South African Rugby Union president is expected to meet the Zimbabwe Rugby Union board and discuss ways of improving the game not only on the playing side but largely on the administration side.

One of Hoskins’ key policies has been to increase the rate of racial integration of South African blacks into the South African national teams and the Super Rugby competition and the ZRU is one Union struggling with race issues.

According to Zimbabwe Rugby Union executive vice president Colleen de Jong, Hoskins is expected in the country just in time for the Dairibord Rugby festival that kicks off on May 5 at Prince Edward school.

“He is expected here on Sunday May 4, just a day before the Dairibord festival starts and he will be here up to Thursday,” said De Jong. Hoskins’ visit to Zimbabwe is reciprocal to ZRU vice president Nyararai Sibanda who was in South Africa Rugby and asked for the IRB chief to visit Zimbabwe so he understands the situation on the ground.

The ZRU led by president John Falkenberg are also expected to discuss how best they can promote the game not only in Zimbabwe but in Sub-Sahara Africa because the region has been neglected by the Confederation of African Rugby.

Over the years countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia, Kenya, Zambia, Uganda and Botswana have not received any meaningful support from CAR instead most of the attention has been on the Francophone countries especially in North and West Africa.

But the coming in to office of Hoskins is expected to change things for the better in terms of administrative and game development support from both the IRB and CAR.

Issues on balancing race issues in the game are also expected to take centre stage given that there has been a number of racial allegations in the ZRU, the hosts will be looking forward to learn from the SARU president who runs a larger pool of Unions, clubs, players and administrators in a more volatile environments.

Source : The Herald