By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE national rugby team coach Brendan Dawson is wary of the threat posed by Kenya when the two sides clash in a crucial Victoria Cup fixture at Hartsfield Rugby Stadium in Bulawayo this Saturday.
After managing wins over Zambia and Uganda in their first two matches, the Sables can move a step closer to winning the revived Victoria Cup with a victory against Kenya.
Dawson, who is in his second stint as Sables coach after taking over from former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers two months ago, is however not expecting his young side to have it all their way against the East Africans.
Kenya, just like the Sables, are unbeaten in this year’s Victoria Cup and head into the match with a better record against Zimbabwe having won 45-36 in Nairobi last year and 22–41 at Hartsfield in 2017.
“We expect nothing but the best from Kenya; they are a top quality unit. Hard competitive rugby is what we expect from them. It is going to be tough because we have got a very young side, a bunch of youngsters that we are building to take over and go into the next World Cup qualifiers,” Dawson told reporters ahead of the match.
“It is going to be hard for them, 90 percent of them don’t have test experience. Kenya are a very improved side and still have old boys in their set-up but I am confident the boys can step up and give Kenya a good game,” he said.
The Sables side features most of the players who were part of the Zimbabwe Academy team which took part in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge in South Africa.
England-based scrumhalf Hilton Mudariki will captain the side which includes debutant flyhalf Dudlee White Sharpley, who plays for the South African club Wanderers.
Meanwhile, Kenya coach Paul Odera says he is also expecting a tough challenge from the Zimbabwe side, who he described as their toughest opponents in the Victoria Cup.
“Zimbabwe are our toughest opponents in this Victoria Cup. They travelled away to Kampala which is always tough for any team and they came out with a good result. They beat Zambia as well. So its two unbeaten teams and probably tomorrow’s result might decide the course of the Victoria Cup in 2019. That is not lost on us and we still have two more games to play but the result will go a long way in determining how we approach the next two games,” Odera said.
Sables team to face Kenya
1. Tyran Fagan, 2. Keith Murray, 3. David Makanda, 4. Godwin Mangenje, 5. Godfrey Muzanargwo, 6. Biselele Tshamala (vice-captain), 7. Brian Nyaude, 8. Njabulo Ndlovu, 9. Hilton Mudariki, 10. Dudlee White Sharpley, 11. Matthew McNab, 12. Ngoni Chibuwe, 13. Shingirai Katsvere, 14. Takudzwa Kumadiro, 15. Martin Mangongo
Replacements: 16. Matthew Mandioma, 17. Tatenda Rwenyu, 18. Royal Mwale, 19. Blithe Mavesere, 20. Aiden Burnett, 21. Tarisai Mugariri, 22. Kuziwakwashe Kazembe