THE Sables are set to play South African Provincial side Valke next month in a rugby friendly match as they play catch-up to their Victoria Cup and Africa Cup opponents Kenya and Uganda. Uganda and Kenya have already been involved in home and away matches in the Elgon Cup with Uganda winning the annual tournament but Zimbabwe are yet to get together and start preparations for the two tournaments.
A 40-man Elgon Warriors squad comprising players from the Kenyan and Ugandan national teams has been named ahead of their fixtures against the visiting English Counties June 9 and 16 in Kampala and Nairobi respectively. This just goes on to show how serious the Sables' East African rivals are taking this year's edition of both tournaments while it is Zimbabwe's aim to remain in Group 1A in order to play the World Cup qualifiers next year.
But in as much as the Sables would like to remain in Group 1A, they are yet to show any seriousness over the issue as their preparations for the African and Tri-Nations tournament are concerned. Coach Brendan Dawson and his assistant Cyprian "Supa" Mandenge won both the Victoria Cup and the Africa Cup 1B group to gain promotion into Group 1A and were both retained for the 2012 season. However, manager Noddy Kanyangarara was the only one in the technical committee who the Zimbabwe Rugby Union did not feel was eligible enough to get another dance with the Sables and was replaced by Losson Mtongwiza. And it is this technical committee that has the responsibility of making sure that the Sables at least remain in the top group that also includes this year's hosts Tunisia if they are to entertain any hopes of playing at the next edition of the Rugby World Cup.
"I was happy with what we managed to achieve last season, which is why I reapplied for the job. I'm glad I have been given another opportunity to lead the country as the head coach," said Dawson.
While the Sables are yet to have a confirmed programme for the 2012 season, their junior side, the Under20s, are currently training for the Junior World Rugby Trophy tournament set for Salt Lake City in Utah, United States. The tournament will run from June 14 to 30 and the Young Sables have already started preparations for the two-week tournament that comprises of eight teams as they are having field sessions at Prince Edward and gym sessions at Country Club.
Zimbabwe JWRT Squad
Backs: Joshua Broomberg, Taku Chieza, Dylan Coetzee, Justin Coles, James Forrester, Stephan Hunduza, Sean Linfield, Michael McIntosh, Garath Meikle, Richard Morkel, Maclean Muhambi, Victor Mushoriwa, Tarisai Ndudzo, Robert Sargeant, Lenience Tambwera.
Forwards: Sean Chigumbura, Simba Chirara, Tawanda Chowe, Tyrone Fagan, Matthew Lawson, Graham Logan, Kuda Makuvire, Matthew Mandioma, Denzel Mupfurutsa, Ian Muza, Thabani Ndaba, Daniel Rorke, Daleroy Sibanda, Michael Sinclair, Joshua Smallbones, Tapiwa Tsomondo, Andries Van Heerden.