By Lawrence Trusida
One of the country’s brightest rugby prospects, Thabani Maguranyanga, who completed a dream move by signing for top French top 14 rugby club, ASM Clermont Auvergne, will join his new teammates next month.
Clermont Auvergne are two-time French champions, having won the Pro 14 league title in 2010 and 2017 seasons.
TJ, as Thabani is affectionately known, is a decorated sports all-rounder having represented both Zimbabwe and South Africa in rugby, athletics and basketball.
The 18-year-old, who will be the first Zimbabwean to play in the top 14, says he is happy to sign a professional contract at such a young age.
“I wanted to dream big and set an example for Zimbabwean kids that if dream big and work hard you can achieve your goals.
“I am extremely humbled that it’s come at such a young age a lot of players I have looked up to have only managed to move to France in their late 30s,” Thabani said.
He also added that he is ready for the challenge ahead.
“I am looking forward to everything, a different brand of rugby but am ready for it, I am going to France to learn.”
TJ, who stands at 1.98 metres and weighs over 100 kgs and can run as fast as 10.6 seconds in 100m, can play wing, centre or fullback positions.
At Clermont, he will be playing alongside French internationals Wesley Fofana, Alexander Lapandry, All Black 7s World Cup winner Tim Nanai Williams and Kotaro Munyaradzi Matsushima, a South African-born Japanese international who was born to a Zimbabwean father and a Japanese mother.