Paul Munyuki Sport Reporter
EXPERIENCED Zimbabwe rugby coach Godwin “Jaws” Murambiwa has warned the Young Sables to brace for a tough tournament when they host the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy in Harare next month.
Eight teams are expected to take part in the Tier Two world competition that is divided into two pools.
The hosts have been drawn in Group A where they will face Fiji, Samoa and Uruguay while Group B features Hong Kong, Namibia, Spain and the United States.
However, Murambiwa, who led Zimbabwe to their best performance in the junior tournament, feels Zimbabwe have a lot of technical catch-up do if they are to impress in front of their home crowd.
“Technically, we are four years behind because we have not been exposed to the level of play equivalent to that at the Junior Trophy tournament.
“A lot of things have changed so that means a lot of work has to be done. We also have to take into consideration that the Under-20 side has a new technical team,” said Murambiwa.
Murambiwa led Zimbabwe to their best finish in the junior tournament in 2007 when they finished seventh in the 12-team competition.
The last time Zimbabwe featured in the junior trophy tournament was in 2012 and the team was coached by current Zimbabwe Rugby Union director of rugby Brighton Chivandire while Murambiwa was his assistant.
“Fiji have just been relegated from the World Championship and they would like to go back.
“Samoa, like Fiji, are very physical.
“Like all the other teams in this group, Uruguay will play a forwards-game so the ideal plan would be to run them around.
“But I hope that the coaches also remember that Fiji tend to have a problem with their discipline and should try to rattle them,” said Murambiwa.
Zimbabwe have had problems with conditioning.
“We need to work on fitness, Under-20 rugby is real men’s rugby so our conditioning should be up to scratch, the technical team needs enough time with the boys,” said Murambiwa.
Making a return to the competition after four years, Zimbabwe qualified for the world junior rugby trophy tournament by virtue of being hosts. World Rugby competitions manager Simon Kibble arrived in the country last night for a two-day visit to assess the country’s state of preparedness.
Kibble will tour the proposed two match venues, the National Sports Stadium and Harare Sports Club, and is also expected to meet Sport and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane.
Group A: Fiji, Samoa, Uruguay, Zimbabwe (host)
Group B: Hong Kong, Namibia, Spain, United States