I was born Connor William Pritchard on the 17th of September 1996 in Brisbane, Australia to Patricia and Garth Pritchard. My mom is proudly Zimbabwean and my dad is Australian. I have two siblings a younger brother Luke who is at Falcon College, Esigodini and a young sister Courtney studying here in Perth Australia. My parents moved to the beautiful Zimbabwe in 1998 and settled at the Majestic and wondrous Victoria Falls. The place is heavenly and it is God’s gift to the beautiful people of my beloved country, Zimbabwe. Rugby runs in my bloodline with my Dad having played Rugby League in his playing days and years back in Australia, so I grew up around rugby talk and rugby on television. I started playing rugby at the age of seven at Victoria Falls primary school (VFPS). Growing up I loved swimming and if I wasn’t swimming I was playing rugby or some form of rugby. My Dad was my swimming coach and my mummy my biggest supporter. I started playing rugby and always practised with my dad. My dad had a rich background in rugby league but he loved Rugby Union even more and we religiously followed the renamed Super Rugby series. Throughout my playing career at Victoria Falls Primary my parents never missed a match whether it was in Marondera or in Harare, Bulawayo. I am forever grateful to my parents , the best in the world. Through their support I learnt to be self reliant and to seek the counsel or resources of others when needed. Being a former athlete my dad helped me develop as an athlete and nurtured the intrinsic values of leadership, self confidence,empathy self discipline, sportsmanlike behavior respect for authority, Life lessons I still live by today.
I fell in love with the sport and although my dad had a background in rugby league he loved rugby Union even more. I looked up to him for guidance as he was my swimming coach at the time. Under his guidance I won many accolades as a swimmer and represented the country at several CANA tournaments. Both my parents would spend endless hours driving me to and from swimming and rugby matches and so I am very grateful to them.
For my High I went to Falcon College, one of the best if not the best boys school in Zimbabwe and dare I say ,the world. I went through the College age grade system playing for the A teams, in U14, 15, 16. During this time I did not make the U14 Craven Week team. I was disappointed, but the failure to make the Craven week side then made me work even harder and give of my best all the time. I played for my first team in 2013. I played three consecutive years of first team under the current Sables Head Coach Brendon Ori Dawson. He helped develop and grow my game and was a huge influence in my budding career and for this I’m forever grateful. I was the captain for the Maddogs , the Falcon Rugby 1st XV in my final year, an honour to lead the fine rugby gentlemen into the fortresses of the various schools every weekend for battle. In my final year I still did not make the Craven week, but I never gave up and instead this spurred me to work even harder and prove to all myself That I can do it. The adage ‘Try , try ,try again if at first you don’t succeed Try Try Try again’ rings true in my rugby career. After failing to make the Craven Week team in my final year I was called up to represent the Zimbabwe u18 youth Olympic sevens team and we won bronze at the African games I was also called up for the Zimbabwe U19 team to take part in the Africa Cup and I was made Captain for the team and We qualified for the u20 world trophy and I captained Zimbabwe at the World Trophy which featured seven other teams, Fiji, Hong Kong, Namibia , Samoa, Spain, United States of America, Uruguay and at that tournament I managed to be nominated for player of the tournament.
In 2016 I also played for Sharks u19 in Durban. The same year I made my debut for the Sables, a culmination of years and years of hard work and perseverance , a trait I got from my parents Patricia and Garth. I then moved to Australia to study for a Bachelors of Environmental Science degree at Griffith University. I also played for the Griffith University Rugby team and in 2018 I was voted the Player of the Year for Griffith University. In 2018 I also made my debut for the Zimbabwe Cheetahs in Hong Kong and later in the year we went on to win the Africa cup in Monastir, Tunisia to become the African Sevens Champions. What an Honour and privilege to win such accolades for my country.
After my performances for Griffith university I was recruited by BondUniversity in 2019 where I went on to win player of the year again and I was selected to play for Queensland Country. I made my debut for Queensland country in 2019 and I had racked up 8 caps before the end of the season. I am still at Bond University in pursuit of my academic and sporting excellence. My vision for the Cheetahs is to qualify for the sevens circuit this giving us sevens rugby all year around and will take us from amateur to a semi Or professional team. For the Sables it would be getting a team back to the World Cup 2023 and being a force to reckon with in African rugby.
Often times I have been asked why I chose to play for Zimbabwe when I had an Australian birth certificate and my answer has always been , that I was raised in Zimbabwe and am fluent in our local languages and cultures, Shona and Ndebele and their cultures. ‘Ndirimwana wevhu’ meaning I’m a son of the soil. I love my country and am so very proud to be a Zimbabwean. It is an Honour and a Privilege to represent this beautiful country, To wear that Green and White Hooped Jersey or the Cheetahs Jersey with that Zimbabwean bird is an unparalleled Honour. The pride you feel is just unexplainable. It is heartwarming as it is humbling. Wearing the Sables and Cheetahs jerseys bespeaks of an immense responsibility to give of your very best every time you run out to represent this proud nation, Zimbabwe. It is our job and responsibility to keep the stature of the jerseys (Sables and Cheetahs) and leave them in a better state than we found them in.
Once a Sable, Always a Sable
Once a Cheetah , Always a Cheetah