The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Sables Meet Spain on Foreign Land

ZIMBABWE has only beaten Spain twice in all the meetings between the two rugby sides and tonight the Sables face a huge task when the two sides meet again - both on foreign soil. The last time the Sables beat Spain was in their first tour of Zimbabwe in 1984 with a 22-13 win at Harsfield before the tourists got their act back together for a 30-18 win over the hosts.

Zimbabwe went on to lose the next four games between '84 and '89 when they last squared off.

Then the Sables comprised of players like Alister McIntosh, Chris Botha, Mark Letcher, and Cliffy Smith who scored a try in the last game while Andy Ferreira chipped in with a conversion and a penalty in the losing cause.

And now the Sables get into battle against Spain, who are ranked seven places better, with a completely different generation in unfamiliar territory.

Coach Cyprian "Supa" Mandenge is not reading much into history while Spanish coach Bryce Bevin feels there is not much of a difference between the two sides.

"There are a lot of positives in our side despite the injuries we encountered against Namibia over the weekend, and I feel that that guys we brought here will come out with a result tomorrow (today).

"We are taking the game as it is and all we want right now is to go back home with a win so there is no option but to beat Spain so we achieve our goal.

"We had injuries but we have had to play around with the side because Danny Robertson and Wes Mbanje have not recovered from their respective injuries so they are definitely out of this game.

"Shayne Makombe is in for Mbanje, while Nyawata comes in to replace Robertson in the backline and there has just been one change in the forwards where Jan (Ferreira) is replaced by fortune Chipendo as lock," said Mandenge.

All the three side taking part in the tournament are using the games as a preparatory stage for the World Cup qualifiers and respective regional tournaments and this shows how seriously all the teams are taking it.

"This is the platform where we are going to begin our road to the Rugby World Cup in England in 2015. This is our first time together so it's incredibly important that we win these matches."

Match Day 22

Sables

1-8: Tapiwa Mangezi, Royal Mwale, .Pieter Joubert, Costa Dinha, .Jan Ferreira, Biselele Tshamala, Lucky Sithole, Takunda Chifokoyo

15-9: Tangai Nemadire, Shayne Makombe, Gavin Nyawata, Daniel Hondo, Gardner Nechironga, Tichafara Makwanya, Scotty Jones.

16-22: Tino Chikobvu, Fidel Nyabusha, Jan Ferreira, Samson Makuku, Linience Tambwera, Philmon Machisa, Japhet Ndebele.

"Namibia and Zimbabwe are quite close to us in the world rankings Namibia is ranked 22 and Zimbabwe 29, while we are 20, so there is not much of a difference and these three teams are very equal," said Spain coach Bevin.

Namibia beat Zimbabwe 37-33 in the opening match of the tournament on Saturday before Spain arrived and Mandenge feels that they will have an upper hand in terms of the environment.

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