Sables squad for SA series in camp
Takudzwa Chitsiga-Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE senior rugby team have upped their preparations for the Quadrangular Series set be held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, from November 12-20.
The Brendan Dawson-side converged in camp with 26 players reporting for duty.
Zimbabwe will, for the first time, take on Brazil, Kenya and Namibia, in the tournament.
The Sables will make history as clashes between countries from Americas and Africa are usually rare at this level.
The world number 24-ranked Brazil rugby union team, popularly known as the Tupis, will face the 34th-ranked Sables, with world rankings points, and a place in the final, on the line.
The Sables will face Brazil on November 14.
Before that, they will have a chance to test their strength against South African rugby franchise, the Cheetahs, on November 6, in Bloemfontein.
The Sables will be missing five key players in Brendon Mandivenga, Farai Mudariki, Shayne Makombe, Blithe Mavesere and Doug Jusyzky.
They are all injured.
Vernon Matongo, Munashe Mhere, Nyasha Tarusenga and Munashe Muchena will not be part of the team due to Covid-19 related travel complications.
Dawson believes the absence of some of the seasoned senior players, from the tournament, will give an opportunity to the younger players, to stake their claim.
“We are looking at trying out new combinations, the World Cup qualifiers are coming and this is the best time to judge were we are against the big boys,’’ he told ZBC. “This is an opportunity for youngsters to stack a claim in the jersey.’’
If the Sables win the African qualifying tournament, it will guarantee them the continent’s one direct qualification spot, for the World Cup.
The runners-up from the qualifiers will go into a four-team final qualification tourney, where they will face sides from Asia/Pacific, the Americas and Europe.
The Sables are aiming to qualify for their first Rugby World Cup, of the professional era, having made their two appearances, in 1987 and 1991.
They will be using the current tour to prepare for the World Cup Qualifiers set for France next year.