Two UKZN students, Matthew Mandioma and Shayne Makombe have been selected in the Zimbabwe national squad for the World Cup Qualifying Tournament to be played in the Stade Mahamasina in Antanararivo, Madagascar.
The Stade Mahamasina is well known for its unique atmosphere; the stadium has only 23,000 seats, yet over 40,000 Malagasy regularly cram the standing terraces when their beloved Les Makis play international matches, and has been described by SARU CEO and FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International chairman, Jurie Roux as one of the most vibrant atmospheres in which he has watched international rugby.
Both Mandioma and Makombe are on TRUDA SNACKS tuition bursaries at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Maritzburg campus. TRUDA company director is ex Varsity and Natal lock Colin van Heerden.
Makombe enjoyed some recognition during the Varsity Shield tournament, where he won the Varsity Shield backline player that Rocks award.
The Zimbabwe team go into camp next week and will also play a friendly against a Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup selection.
The Four Nations qualifying tournament participants are Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya. The tournament winner will automatically qualify for RWC, while the runner up has a second chance in the repechage, where they will face the winner of the Germany v Russia play-off.
Former UJ flyhalf Guy Cronje and his twin brother, Ross have also been called up, although their current employer, the Lions franchise has not yet agreed to release them.
By Mark Schulze