By Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe national Under-20 men’s rugby team will be hoping for a winning start when they face Tunisia in their opening match of the Rugby Africa Under-20 Barthes Trophy at the Nyayo International Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday.
The Junior Sables were expected to leave the country on Thursday morning for the continental competition.
Zimbabwe is one of the eight countries taking part in the Rugby Africa Under-20 Barthes Trophy.
The other participating nations include hosts Kenya, Tunisa, Uganda, Madagascar, Zambia, Ivory Coast and Namibia.
The winners of the tournament will book a place at next year’s World Rugby Junior World Trophy.
Zimbabwe’s Under-20 side will be hoping to take one step towards qualification for the global tournament when they square off against Tunisia in the quarterfinal encounter – one of the four matches lined up on Saturday.
Junior Sables head coach Shaun De Souza said although he does not have much insight into Saturday’s opponents; he is anticipating typical Tunisian form of rugby.
“We are expecting quick running style of Tunisian rugby, we really need to win this match to get into the semis,” De Souza said before the team’s departure.
“We are not going to add numbers, it is a knock tournament and our aim is to focus on each stage as we go. Ultimately we would like to be the last team standing, so we are going to give our best and we are ready for the show,” he added.
The competition will begin in a knockout format from the quarterfinal stage.
A total of four matches are lined up on Saturday. Zimbabwe’s match against Tunisia is the second match of the day after the first game pitting Namibia and Ivory Coast.
Madagascar and Zambia will battle it out in the third quarterfinal before the final game of the day where hosts Kenya take on Uganda.
The winners from this stage will progress to the semi-finals while the losers will drop to the classification matches. The semi-finals will be played four days later on Wednesday and the final on Easter Sunday after which the teams will be ranked.
At the end of the tournament, the teams ranked seventh and eighth will play in a repechage competition comprising four nations, themselves and two challengers from the rest of Africa, for two slots at the next Barthes Trophy in 2023.
Zimbabwe Under-20 Squad
Tomuvonga Msasanure, Panashe Zuze, Farai Madzima, Shadrick Mandaza, Veshal Jasi, Tadiwa Chinwada, Takudzwa Musingwini (captain), Brendan Marume, Bryan Chaing, Marlon Guwuriro, Takunda Mudzingwa, Alex Nyamunda, Dion Khumalo, Tanaka Chinyanga, Simbarashe Siraha, Tanaka GondoMukandapi, Tamuka Kambani, Liberty Sibanda, Solomon Zawe, Josiah Borerwe, Tanaka Ndoro, Tanaka Ndabambi, Muzuva Gutu, Tavonga Ablant, Denzel Maramba, Tawanda Matipano, Tendai Chimyama, Simbarashe Kanyangarara, Andy Naringo, Munotida Marimirofa