4 September 2011

Zimbabwe: Dawson Still Interested in Sables Coaching Job

ZIMBABWE rugby team coach, Brandon Dawson, wants to lead the Sables in the 2015 World Cup qualifiers. Dawson's four-year coaching contract with the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) expires at the end of this year.

The successful coach, who led the Sables to the Victoria Cup and a promotion to the Africa Cup Group 1A, their best ever ranking of International Rugby Board (IRB) ranking of 35, said discontinuing the coaching set-up would only bring a foot-shooting season upon the Sables. The Sables technical team is made up of Dawson as the head coach, Cyprian Mandenge as his assistant while Noddy Kanyangarara is the team manager.

"I am definitely still interested in the job and hope that my contract, together with that of the other technical team members will be extended," he said from his base in Bulawayo.

"It will be very unfortunate to leave the team at this stage because the team needs continuity. "We are just beginning to realise the fruits of hard work over a period of time and our target is now the 2015 Rugby World Cup. It has been a long time since we last played at the World Cup and it will be nice to qualify for the World Cup.

"That is why we have started fusing Under 20 players such as Charles Jiji into the squad," he said. Dawson, who took over from Chris Lampard in 2007, has transformed the Sables into a competitive outfit with the team now ranked as the 35th best rugby playing nation in the world.

His era has seen Zimbabwe rising from competing in the Africa Cup Group C to Group 1A which affords them a chance to fight for the single slot reserved for Africa at the 2015 World Cup.

This year, the Sables recovered from an awful 2010 in which they lost 23-18 to Kenya in the final of the inaugural Victoria Cup that also involved Uganda at Harare Sports Club.

Last year also saw the Sables reaching the semi-finals of Africa Cup following victories over Botswana and Madagascar in Pool C. However, their victories came to naught as the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) cancelled the tournament at the semi-final stage as none of the four remaining countries Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Madagascar and Morocco could host the event.

The Sables, however came right in the Africa Cup this year and were promoted to Africa Cup Group 1A that would see them playing in the 2015 World Cup qualifiers.

England, being the host nation, is the only team to have qualified so far. Top three teams in the pool stages of the 2011 Rugby World Cup will qualify automatically.

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