Junior Sables Coach Sean De Souza aims high as team prepares for Barthes Africa Cup

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By Sport Reporter

AFTER leading the Zimbabwe Under 20 men’s rugby team to two consecutive Barthes Africa Cup trophies in 2022 and 2023 respectively, Sean De Souza is this year eyeing bigger achievements.

The Junior Sables coach told New that his plan for this year is to break into higher levels.

Barthes Africa Cup is an under 20 men’s rugby tournament and this year it will be hosted by Zimbabwe, De Souza believes there is a need for his team to work harder if they are to defend the title.

“As we are going for our third title we want to work harder and prepare better for this event, hopefully, we will get time because the under-20 rugby league is still on.

“Being the host of the Barthes we want to be very prepared and we are not just planning for Barthes we are now planning to get in the right direction beyond Barthes that is the Junior World Trophy to be played in Scotland in July,” said De Souza.

The top two teams from the Barthes Africa Cup automatically qualify for the World Junior Trophy, a zone which always proves to be an uphill task for the Junior Sables who last year finished in position six out of eight.

The top two teams in the Junior Trophy qualify for the World Junior Championships which is the elite competition for under 20 rugby in the world.

“We are working towards competing in the Junior Trophy and winning it so that we can qualify for the World Junior Championships.

“So we do not have time because it is going to be demanding,” added De Souza.

Zimbabwe rugby early this week released an 83-man squad which is set to start high-performance training and De Souza highlighted why he picked a large pool of players.

He said,” We are building our backbone for each year. That is the reason why we have a big squad.

“The positive thing also is at the Nedbank Challenge Cup we will have the Under 20 high-performance team and the Junior Sables team which will play against the senior teams.

“This platform makes a difference for us, we are competing with the older guys, so it gives us physicality and strong competition.

“It worked in the last two years and it always helps our strength and strategies going into the Barthes Trophy.”