The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Sables Seek Redemption

SABLES assistant coach, Cyprian "Supa" Mandenge, has called on his charges to prove why they were called into the national sides' tour of Dubai after they got off to a false start with a 7-22 defeat at the hands of Hong Kong over the weekend.

Zimbabwe take on Belgium for the first time today at the Sevens Rugby Stadium in Dubai in their second game of the Emirates Dubai invitational tournament at the back of three straight defeats.

The defeat to defending champions Hong Kong saw the Sables fall one place on the International Rugby Board world rankings, as they went out of the top 30, after losing 0,86 rating points to settle at number 31.

Prior to travelling to Dubai, the Sables had lost two games at the hands of Spain and hosts Namibia in the Windhoek Lager tournament last month.

The defeat to Hong Kong made it three losses in a row for the African champions.

Before the three-game losing streak, Zimbabwe had won seven games on the trot on their way to lifting the Africa Cup in Tunisia.

Mandenge said the Sables were their own worst enemies, as they made unforced mistakes that proved costly, against Hong Kong.

"We lost to Hong Kong because we made a number of mistakes that included the five penalties we missed and that counts for 15 points, but we can not continue crying over our mistakes," said Mandenge.

"We have to come to a time when we cannot sit and say we could have won that game every time we lose and tomorrow has to be a different story because we have worked on our weaknesses.

"This (yesterday) morning we had a video session watching and analysing how we played against Hong Kong and then we went on to the field and we majored in the mistakes we made in the past games.

"The bottom line is that if you make mistakes at this level then you get punished heavily and that is just what happened to us and our finishing was not good as well so after the video session the boys were confident they will win.

"We saw them win (94-3) against hosts the United Arab Emirates but there is not much to read from that as it was a one-sided game but from their (Belgium) body language they seem over confident and we have to punish them for that."

And to the starting side that lost to Hong Kong on Saturday, the Sables technical team, led by coach Brandon Dawson, have made three changes due to various reasons that include injuries and technical.

Captain and lock Costa Dinha will start from the bench after suffering tendon injuries and Sanele Sibanda has been thrown in, and the captain's armband has been passed on to Scotland-based flanker Shingi Mpofu.

Centre Gavin Nyawata suffered an ankle injury on Saturday and has been replaced by Thomas Nelson while experienced flyhalf Tichafa Makwanya comes in for Lenience Tambwera as the other addition to the starting XV.

Sables Starting XV

1-8: Simba Musarurwa, Keith Murray, Nic Winwood, Sanile Sibanda, Jan Ferreira, Shingi Mpofu (captain), Biselele Tshamala, Takunda Chifokoyo.

9-15: Scotty Jones, Tichafara Makwanya, Kuda Chiwanza, Josh Rowe, Thomas Nelson Steven Hunduza, Jonathan McWade.

Substitutes: Brian Makamure, Piet Joubert, Tapiwa Mangezi, Costa Dinha, Tonderai Chigumbura, Lenience Tambwera, Gavin Nyawata, Graham Kaulback.

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