THE Zimbabwe national sevens rugby team has received another invitation for a training camp in the United Kingdom to prepare the team for two crucial international sevens tournaments in June i
n Amsterdam, Holland and Spain.
Zimbabwe Sevens Rugby manager Bruce Hobson confirmed to IndependentSport this week that the Cheetahs will camp for one week in May at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire following on last year’s invitation. The team will train under top conditioning coaches who include Liam Middleton, a Zimbabwean who works at the college.
Middleton, who facilitated the trip, is an IRB Level 3-qualified trainer and coaches the British Isles Combined Universities side.
“We are to take advantage of the camp to get good results in Amsterdam and Spain so that the IRB sit and notice (our strengths) and invite us to play on the IRB circuit where countries like Kenya are playing”, said Hobson.
The Zimbabwe team will stay at Hartpury for a week before flying out to the Dutch capital where the international teams will meet. The Cheetahs will then return to Hartpury for another week before leaving for the Spanish leg of the International sevens tournament.
Prospective players have already started training under coach John Ewing and his assistant Gilbert Nyamutsamba in Harare and Bulawayo respectively. Hobson said the final Zimbabwe team will be announced in due course, but Sables and Cheetahs centre Daniel Hondo, who is on a three-year scholarship at Hartpury, is set to be part of the side.
Other players likely to make the side are South African-based Neil Nortje, a Golden Lions player who toured with the Cheetahs last year.
Hobson lashed out at the organisation of African sevens rugby which he said lacked proper structures and ranking system. This, he said, adversely affected Zimbabwe last year after the IRB snubbed the country for the World Sevens Series using a widely condemned invitation system.
“There has to be some form of credibility in our system. We need to regulate seeding and administer points properly. Obviously for that to happen there has to be some kind of committee,” Hobson said.
Meanwhile, two Zimbabwe Under-19 players will get early experience ahead of the Under-19 World Cup in Durban South Africa at the end of the month.
Inside centre Thomas Milburn and wing Ebenezer Simba left the country with the Prince Edward School first team on Tuesday to play in the traditional St Johns Easter Festival in Johannesburg.
PE play three matches against top Johannesburg school sides before returning home on Monday. PE captain Milburn and Simba will immediately rejoin the national Under-19 side before flying back to Johannesburg with the rest of the team the following day ahead of the World Cup.