THE Zimbabwe senior national rugby team will host Uganda’s Cranes in the return leg of the Victoria Cup at the Machinery Exchange Stadium, Harare Sports Club, on Saturday.
The Sables are savouring a three-match unbeaten run after beating Kenya, Uganda and Zambia, but they have ruled out complacency in the weekend encounter.
Team manager Jason Maritz said players are in camp preparing for match against the Cranes.
“It will not be an easy match and at the back of our minds we know that the race for the championship is grounds enough for everyone to come harder at us. We have had a little bit more time to prepare for them and we are ready for another intense encounter. The Cranes are a tough side and are coming for us. We are not taking this game lightly and we will brush up on previous mistakes,” said Maritz.
Zimbabwe have again been hit by injuries that will result in a few changes to the team. Skipper, Brendon Mandivenga, who missed the previous game, has been ruled out for the rest of the competition.
Explosive centre Takudzwa Chieza has also not recovered from a hamstring strain and will miss the Cranes’ match. Stalwart flanker Blithe Mavesera could also miss the match because of a groin sprain, while Matthew McNab is also not available. Camron Harris, who had been called up to the training squad for this match has also been ruled out by injured.
The Sables have call up Saope Soko, a centre playing for the London Irish Wild Geese, a feeder team to the London Irish first team, and could use the services of another loose forward in Dylan Grogan, who plays either as a lock or flanker.
Meanwhile the Zimbabwe women’s 15s will host the Probables and Possibles selection match as one of the curtain raisers on Saturday.
Newly-appointed head coach Phillimon Machisa will be using live game conditions to select players he will be working with ahead of the September 18 Test against Zambia in Lusaka.
“This weekend is very important for the team as we get an opportunity to assess the progress we have made and see the areas we still need to put more emphasis on,” said Machisa.
“We have been training hard, working on our team plays, defence and fitness, and this has kept the momentum going. The commitment has been great. It is therefore important that we have a look at all the girls as we prepare for Zambia and other international fixtures ahead,” he said.
Sables training squad
Tatenda Rwenyu, Royal Mwale, Tyran Fagan, David Makanda, Keith Murray, Matthew Mandioma, Cameron Harrison, Godwin Mangenje, George Saungweme, Blithe Mavesere, Brian Nyuade, Biselele Tshamala, Godfrey Muzanargwo, Aiden Burnett, Hilton Mudariki, Ernest Mudzengerere, Jeremiah Jaravaza, Dudlee White-Sharpley, Takudzwa Chieza, Martin Mangongo, Chibuwe Ngoni, Daniel Capsopoulos, Shingirai Katsvere, Takudzwa Kumadiro, Kudakwashe Chiwanza, Rufaro Chikwaira, Tari Mugariri