By Sports Reporter
INJURY-hit Zimbabwe have announced a weakened 31-man squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in France.
The qualifying competition is scheduled for July 1 to 7.
Zimbabwe was using the ongoing Currie Cup First Division in South Africa to prepare Rugby Africa Cup in France which doubles as the qualifiers the World Cup.
However, while the South African competition has provided the Zimbabwean side some much-needed game time it has also come at a cost following injuries to some key players.
Highly rated locks Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa and Andre Evans, who were certain starters during the upcoming qualifiers, will both miss out on the trip to France due to injuries while Young Sables ace Tavonga Ablant got injured in South Africa.
Others such as Farai Mudariki, Michael Kumbirai, Blithe Mavesere and centre Brendon Mudzekenyedzi suffered injuries at their respective clubs.
Experienced scrum-half Hilton Mudariki will captain the Zimbabwe side which is seeking to qualify for their first Rugby World Cup since 1991.
Despite the injuries, the Sables squad still includes a number of exciting players such as the highly-rated Pumas fullback Tapiwa Mafura, France-based prop Cleopas Kundiona and uncapped South African-born flank Jason Fraser, who plies his trade in France for Pro D2 side USON Nevers.
The Sables will wind up their preparations for the World Cup qualifiers by playing Netherlands in a high profile Test match in Amsterdam on June 25 before returning to France for their Rugby Africa Cup quarterfinal match against Ivory Coast on July 2.
Sables Final Squad
Tyran Fagan, Victor Mupunga, Gabriel Sipapate, Cleopas Kundiona, Matthew Mandiona, Bornwell Gwinji, Liam Larkan, Royal Mwale, Godfrey Munzanargwo, Goodwin Mangenje, Sean Beevor, Biselele Tshamala, Kelvin Kanenungo, Johan Du Preez, Nyasha Tarusenga, Aiden Burnett, Jason Fraser, Tapiwa Tsomondo, Hilton Mudariki, Kyle Galloway, Takudzwa Musingwini, Takudzwa Chieza, Riaan O’Niel, Marcus Nel, Tapiwa Mafura, Matthew McNab, Shingi Katsvere, Brendon Marume, Shayne Makombe, Ngoni Chibuwe, Martin Mangongo