Benade makes Sables changes FOLLOW THE LEADER . . . Zimbabwe Sables skipper Kudzai Mashawi (with ball) charges for the Zambian try line as Aiden Burnett (centre) and Hilton Mudariki (right) run along in support during the two teams’ last meeting at Prince Edward High School last month

Zimpapers Sports Hub

ZIMBABWE coach Piet Benade has made seven changes to his starting XV for the Sables’ international match against Zambia at the Lusaka Rugby Grounds tomorrow.

After the Zimbabwe Rugby Union’s proposed friendly matches against Sweden and the Netherlands fell through, Zambia have been left as the Sables’ only sparring partner before Benade and his troops embark on the Africa Cup campaign.

The Africa Cup is scheduled for Kampala in Uganda next month.

Zambia and Zimbabwe met at last month’s Mwana Group International Schools Rugby Festival, in a game in which the Sables barely scrapped through courtesy of a 32-28 win.

Zimbabwe left for the return leg in Lusaka yesterday but not before Benade announced his starting XV for tomorrow’s match.

Benade made a host of changes from the team that started during the first leg, in particular making a straight swap in the front row as Jeff Makoni, Simba Mandioma and Neil Mawere came in for Zvikomborero Chimoto, Liam Larkham, and Bornwell Gwinji.

The duo of Chimoto and Gwinji have since been dropped to the bench while Larkham did not travel with the team.

Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa comes in for Vuyani Dlomo at right lock while Tadiwa Gwashu has been preferred over Tonderai “Dwadwa” Chawambutsa at right flanker.

Keegan Jourbert has been moved from flyhalf to scrumhalf, relegating former skipper Hilton Mudariki to the bench, while Takudzwa Musingwini slots in at the vacant number 10 position. Musingwini is a recent Zimbabwe Under-20 graduate having featured for the Junior Sables in the 2021 and 2022 Barthes Trophy conquests.

Benade, a firm admirer of the Junior Sables, also travelled with the duo of Huntley Masterson and Bryan Chiang who were part of the 2022 squad. Zimbabwe also carried as many as six debutants to Zambia, among them the likes of Colin Nyaoda, Simba Siraha, Trevor Garwe, Masterson, Gwashu, and Chiang.

Veteran inside centre Kudzai Mashawi has been retained and will continue his duties as captain and will be deputised by eighth-man Aiden Burnett.

Mashawi has backed the Sables to put on a much more improved show from what they exhibited at Prince Edward School in May.

“One of the biggest lessons to come out of that match (last meeting in May) was the need to be more ruthless; we can’t take a lead like we did and then allow the opposition to come back at us,” said Mashawi.

“Going into the second match, we intend to be more switched on and we won’t shy away from the physicality of it all.

“There have some big players who bullied us, especially in the second half, but expect a different demeanour this time around,” he said.

Sables Starting XV

Jeff Makoni, Simba Mandioma, Neil Mawere, David Makamba, Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa, Tadiwa Gawshu, Brian Nyaude, Aiden Burnette, Keegan Jourbert, Takudzwa Musingwini, Darrel Makwasha, Kudzai Mashawi, Dion Khumalo, Takudzwa Kumadiro, Tadius Dzandiwandira

Replacements:  Bryan Chiang, Zvikomborero Chimoto, Bornwell Gwinji, Huntley Masterson, Colin Nyaoda, Simba Siraha, Hilton Mudariki, Trevor Gurwe

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