Sables face tough Dutch Test

25 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
Sables face tough Dutch Test CAPTAIN MARVEL . . . The Zimbabwe national rugby team captain Hilton Mudariki will today lead the Sables in their first-ever Test match against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

The Herald

AMSTERDAM. —  The Sables of Zimbabwe will today take on the Netherlands in an international Test rugby fixture that wouldn’t look out of place early on in a World T20 cricket competition — with both sides still gunning for the final two spots in this year’s edition — it’s hard to automatically associate these two sides with rugby.

But with the Netherlands having produced 14-try Scotland international Tim Visser, and Zimbabwe being the place that former England player and Exeter Chiefs legend Don Armand was born and raised, it’s clear these two nations can produce the talent needed to climb up tier two, which they both narrowly sit in at the moment.

The Dutch had a desperately disappointing Rugby Europe Championship, with Russia’s unsurprising enforced relegation the only thing keeping them in the second tier of European rugby, but a respectable showing against Romania in a 38-12 defeat in the final game can be a source of positivity, as they take on a team they have a much better chance of beating this time around.

The Netherlands won’t be featuring in France 2023, but their game against Zimbabwe should be a fascinating indication of their relative progress as rugby nations, while the same can be said for already-qualified Japan and Uruguay’s second Test.

For Zimbabwe, ranked eight places below the Netherlands in the World Rankings at #34, this will give them a clear indication of whether they have any chance of shocking likely opponents Namibia and reaching the 2023 World Cup.

Though they were ultimately trounced 41-10, they did lead Namibia at the break of their most recent meeting back in November, and an 80-minute performance in victory here would provide them with a quiet confidence they can reach a first World Cup since 1991.

Today marks the end of a long season for the Netherlands. For Zimbabwe, also known as the Sables, an important game in preparation for their match against Côte d’Ivoire in Marseille. This match is the quarter-final of the Africa Cup where Zimbabwe has their last chance to qualify for the 2023 World Cup. This World Cup qualifying match will therefore determine everything for the men from Zimbabwe.

Given the World Ranking, the Netherlands still in 26th place and Zimbabwe in 34th place, you could expect the Netherlands to be the favourites today, but that is probably too easy to think. Both teams have never played against each other before, so it is a difficult game to predict.

The interim head coach of Netherlands national rugby union team Dick Muir knows many staff members and players of the Zimbabwean team and is aware that the team has had to risk a lot for this Europe rugby tour.

Muir played for Natal in South Africa for most of his career before moving to Western Province helping him to make his international debut for the Springboks in 1997.

Muir has once again set up a young Dutch team with again many new faces who can get their first cap. New to the list are Sam van Berkel from Rugby Club DIOK, Rijk Gombault from Rugby Club Haarlem, Jesse de Vries playing for Canterbury, Kevin Ebing from Rugby Club the Dukes who also played for Delta earlier this season, Dirk Bruil playing for Manchester Metropolitan University and Tyren Kroos currently playing in France at Sporting Union Agen.

Finally, there are a number of players who were allowed to play their first game for the Orange in Italy, but because that game was not an official Test match, these gentlemen will receive their first official cap by playing against Zimbabwe today.

Today’s match will be played at the National Rugby Centre Stadium in Amsterdam.

Line-ups

The Netherlands: 1. J. Jorna, 2. S. Van Berkel, 3. L. Buijs, 4. R. Gombault, 5. M. Leverstein, 6. S. Salman, 7. L. Stone, 8. J. De Vries, 9. R. Van Balkom, 10. M. Van Oord, 11. D. Van Der Avoird, 12. D. Limmen, 13. A. Tahwa, 14. J. Hop, 15. J. Doornenbal

Substitutes: R. Warmerdam, K. Ebing, Q. Warmerdam, D. Bruil, J. Plane, M. Coebergh, T. Kroos, M. Haanstra

Zimbabwe: 1. T. Fagan, 2. M. Mandioma, 3. C. KunDiona, 4. S. Beevor, 5. G. Muzanargwo, 6. J. Fraser, 7. B. Tshamala, 8. N. Tarusenga, 9. K. Mudariki (c), 10. M. Nel, 11. S. Katsvere, 12. T. Chieza, 13. M. Mcnab, 14. S. Makombe, 15. T. Musingwini

Substitutes: l. Larkan, V. Mupunga, B. Gwinji, G. Mangenje, J. Du preez, K. Galloway, J. forrester, C. Ngoni — Agencies.

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