Mbachi Mutukula-Maregere in PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa
FOR Hilton Mudariki, one of the rookies in the Zimbabwe Cheetahs team taking part in the IRB World Sevens Series, being in the Cheetahs squad is an opportunity that has come when he least anticipated it.
The 21-year-old, who is currently playing for the Amersham and Chiltern Club in North London, England, is the third youngest player in the Cheetahs.
Only Boyd Rouse and Brandon Boshi are younger.
Madariki was part of the Sables team that took part in the Tri-Nations Series in Namibia last October.
He is now part of the Cheetahs squad ready to make a huge impact here.
“I have enjoyed the year 2013, it has been one of the busiest for me in my rugby career. The way the opportunities started coming for me was amazing.
“I never felt that I was going to be given a chance to play for both Zimbabwe teams.
“When I was called for the Sables training squad I felt I was not going to make it into the final team seeing top players like Fortune Chipendo and Daniel Hondo but to my surprise I made it.
“I was very happy,” said Mudariki.
Mudariki said he enjoyed his time and experience with the Sables and he feels he will also enjoy his time with the Cheetahs.
“My experience with the Cheetahs has also been good. I feel the remaining days that we will be together will be great too.
“When I was with the Sables we did not win all our matches, in terms of our size we were not as big as Kenya and Namibia but I loved one thing about us – our skills and we had more pace.
“Back in London I play as a scrumhalf and I really enjoy that, currently my club is on a break and our league will resume after the Christmas holiday which means I will not have time to rest. I have been training hard.
“The people at my club in London have been very supportive. I have missed some of my club tournaments but they encouraged me to come for this series. I am sure they will enjoy watching me play in this international tournament,” said Mudariki.
Cheetahs skipper Fortune Chipendo says he has also enjoyed the opportunities that have come his way in his rugby career.
Chipendo was named captain to lead the team in the absence of veteran Jacques Leitao.
“I remember I was first spotted by Bruce Hobson and I started playing in the Under-21 and since then I have had good and enjoyable moments with both the Cheetahs and the Sables,” said Chipendo.
Zimbabwe have been placed in Group D and their first match is against Argentina at 12:15pm today before they take on England and complete their programme against Samoa.
Zimbabwe Cheetahs Squad
Fortune Chipendo (captain), TafadzwaChitokwindo, Boyd Rouse, NjabuloNdlovu, TapiwaTsomondo, BiseleleTshamala, KilvanMangunje, Hilton Mudariki, Brandon Boshi, Gardener Nechironga, TangaiNemadire.
Coach: Liam Middleton.
Assistant coach : Daniel Hondo