Zimbabwe coach De Villiers happy with Sables preps

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By Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE senior rugby team coach Peter de Villiers has expressed his satisfaction with his team’s preparations ahead of the start of the 2019 Rugby Gold Cup which doubles as the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifiers next month.

The outspoken former Springboks coach, who recently returned from South Africa following the passing away of his father earlier this month, held his first training camp with his players at Falcon College in Esigodini last week.

It was the first time de Villiers was meeting most of his players, who were not available when he took charge of a Zimbabwean invitational side, named Zambezi Steelers during their high-profile exhibition match against South Africa’s Blue Bulls last month.

The Zambezi Steelers lost the match 62-19. 

“I’m really happy with where we are at the moment in terms of our preparations for the World Cup qualifiers,” de Villiers told yesterday.

“We had a camp in Bulawayo last week and we actually managed to work on a lot of stuff that we couldn’t work on in Harare before the Zambezi Steelers’ match against the Blue Bulls.

“Obviously we had some problems in terms of having all the players we had called up, my father passed away just before the camp and I wasn’t here so there was some miscommunication but this time around I expect everything to go smoothly until we play our first match.”

De Villiers said that his plans for the World Cup qualifiers were starting to take shape and that he and his coaching team which includes his assistant Brendan Dawson and Stanley Raubenheimer has now shifted focus to the upcoming second camp in Johannesburg.

The Sables leave for South Africa on May 20, where they are expected to play two fine tuning matches in preparation for the World cup qualifiers.

“While we were in Bulawayo did some nice physical stuff as well as a lot of defensive work and I was happy with how everything went, and I believe everything is going according to plan,” he said.

“We are going to continue working here for the next two weeks before we leave for Johannesburg on the 20th of May for about seven days which will be part of our final preparations.

De Villiers penned a two-year deal with the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) in February with the main task of guiding the Sables to their first Rugby World Cup since 1991.

The next World Cup will be held in Japan next year, and the winner of this year’s Rugby Africa Gold Cup which features Namibia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Morocco and Tunisia will automatically seal a place at the global showpiece.

Zimbabwe play their first qualification match against Morocco on June 16 at home.