Takudzwa Chitsiga Sports Reporter
BRENDAN Mandivenga will captain the Zimbabwe Rugby Academy during the team’s inaugural outing in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge in South Africa.
Mandivenga, a promising star since his high school days, remains one of Zimbabwe’s gems as a fine back-line player at fly-half, centre and full-back.
The competition includes 14 South African Rugby Provincial teams as well as Namibia’s Welwitschias.
Speaking from the team’s camp base in Cape Town, Mandivenga said they were ready to take on the daunting task ahead of them.
“It is a massive honour for us to be playing in this competition, it is a great opportunity for us to showcase what Zimbabwe rugby is all about,’’ he said.
“And, we have an opportunity to put Zimbabwe back on the map. As a team, we will make sure we will grab it with both hands and give it our everything.
“We are not really looking at these opponents as our superiors but, rather, we are looking at each team as being on the same level as us. We are trying to build for the next world cup and it all starts in this competition.
“We are laying out our foundation for the next four years as our goal and we will take on each team as they come.’’
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Rugby Academy, which is currently in Cape Town for their inaugural Supersport Rugby Challenge, have partnered with South African sports brands and nutrition supplier, Bodworths Brands, who will be supplying the squad with an assortment of products.
Brad Bodsworth, the owner of Bodsworth Brands, says his love for sport and the passion displayed by the Zimbabwe Rugby Academy makes it worth supporting the team.
“I am an avid sports lover and rugby players with passion, such as the underdogs, have always been something that I have been in firm support of.
‘’When it comes to Zimbabwe Rugby Academy, these guys are literally laying it all on the line for their passion, the love they have for their rugby and their country.
“There is no other added incentive for them other than the passion that there are playing the sport and that is what I am a firm supporter,” said Bodsworth.
In addition to the nutrition sponsor, the team is working with strength and conditioning expert Nico van Der Walt at Crossfit False Bay.
Squad: Aiden Burnett, Brandon Sweet, Wade Petzer, Biselele Tshamala, Brendon Mandivenga, Brian Nyaude, Cleopas Kundiona, Dunstin Andrews, Erbest Mudzengerere, George Sawezy, Godfrey Muzanarwo, Godwin Mangenje, Hilton Mudariki, Jan Ferreira, Jeremiah Jaravaza, Jordon Coombes, Keith Murray, Kudakwashe Chiwanza, Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa, Kuzi Kazembwe, Kudzai Mashawi, Mattew Mc Nab, Michael Botha, Neil Mawere, Njabulo Ndlovu, Riann O’Niel, Royal Mwale, Sanele Sibanda, Shingirai Katsvere, Tabonga Ngonyamo, Takudzwa Chieza, Takudzwa Kumadiro, Tatenda Mujawo, Tyron Fagan, Tinashe Chaza, Blithe Mavesere
28 April: Border Bulldogs v Zimbabwe Academy East London
4 May: Zimbabwe Academy vs Sharks False Bay Rugby Club, Cape Town
14 May: SWD Eagles vs Zimbabwe Academy Mossel Bay
18 May: WP vs Zimbabwe Academy TBC (Cape Town)
25 May: Zimbabwe Academy vs Cheetahs False Bay Rugby Club, Cape Town
1 June: Boland vs Zimbabwe Academy TBC (Wellington)
8 June : Zimbabwe vs EP False Bay Rugby Club, Cape Town