Richard Tsimba

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Richard Tsimba
Richard Tsimba.jpg
BornRichard Utete Tsimba
(1965-07-09) July 9, 1965 (age 56)
Salisbury (now Harare), Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)
DiedApril 30, 2000(2000-04-30) (aged 34)
Car Accident
ResidenceOld Marimba Park Suburb
EducationPeterhouse Boys School
OccupationRugby Player
Years active1985-1991
Known forBeing the first black rugby player to represent Zimbabwe
FamilyKennedy Tsimba (Brother)
AwardsIRB Hall of Fame

Richard Utete Tsimba was a Zimbabwean rugby union player. He played as a centre. He was nicknamed "The Black Diamond". Tsimba was the first black player to represent his country. On 25 October 2012, he was posthumously inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.


Richard was born on 9 July 1965 in Salisbury (now Harare) and died on 30 April 2000 in a car accident. He has a young brother, Kennedy Tsimba. He attended Peterhouse Boys School for his secondary education. He was nicknamed "The Black Diamond". Richard Tsimba was the first black African player to grace the World Cup when the continent’s single participant, Zimbabwe, featured in the opening edition in New Zealand in 1987, with the flying centre scoring a brilliant solo try against Romania on the hallowed turf of Eden Park — a fortress of the mighty All Blacks.[1]


Tsimba was the first black player to represent his country. He had 5 caps for Zimbabwe, scoring 3 tries, 12 points in aggregate. All his caps came at the 1987 Rugby World Cup, where he played in two games, scoring two tries in the 21-20 loss to Romania, on 23 March 1987, in Auckland, and at the 1991 Rugby World Cup, where he was used in all the three games, scoring a try in the 52-8 loss to Japan, on 14 October 1991, in Belfast.

An outside centre, Tsimba, announced his arrival on the global stage when he raced through the Romanian defence to score an amazing try at Eden Park in Auckland, on the second day of the inaugural tournament. He scored two tries in that match which Zimbabwe lost 21-20. He played 23 times for his country before signing off with a try on his farewell appearance against Japan in Belfast at the 1991 Rugby World Cup.

Nicknamed the “Black Diamond”, Tsimba opened doors for other black players. At the 1991 World Cup, where Tsimba played in all of his country’s three matches at the tournament, there were three black players in Zimbabwe’s squad, the others being loose forward Honeywell Ngurube and wing Elimon Chimbima.[2]

Most of the black players in the current Zimbabwe Sables squad can take representing their country for granted but for the late Richard Tsimba, it did not come that easy.

Teams played for

1985-87 Chaminuka RFC 1987-89 Belmont Shore RFC 1990-95 Old Georgians RFC


On 25 October 2012, he was posthumously inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame; his living younger brother and fellow Zimbabwe international Kennedy Tsimba was inducted alongside him.


He died in a car accident on 30 April 2000, aged only 34 years old.


  1. Enock Muchinjo, [1], Zimbabwe Independent, Published: 12 October, 2019, Accessed: 21 April, 2020
  2. Mehluli Sibanda, [2], The Sunday News, Published: 19 April, 2020, Accessed: 21 April, 2020