By Enock Muchinjo
SEVENS rugby national team coach John Ewing is satisfied with build-ups to the Cheetahs’ participation in the World Sevens Series first rounds in Dubai and Georgia in D
ecember, he told IndependentSport this week.
Ewing, who also doubles as a player for the Cheetahs and Harare Sports Club, said the level of competition on show in the ongoing domestic Summer Sevens Series was a good sign for the national side as more quality players are emerging from the clubs.
“Other clubs are coping a lot better than others, but nonetheless we have witnessed good sevens rugby to be optimistic about the national side,” said Ewing.
Although the final squad for the world series will only be finalised after the completion of the domestic season, Ewing is already training aspiring national team players in sessions being conducted twice a week.
“Players are taking back to their clubs what they would have learnt at the national team training sessions and as you can see, it is reflecting on the quality of rugby on display in these series,” he said.
Players who have been attending the national training sessions include the outstanding trio of Harare Sports Club forwards Allan Mdewa, Joseph Muparutsa and flyhalf Happy Nyatanga, who were part of the Cheetahs last season, and Mbare Hawks’ Daniel Wasili.
Old Hararians three-quarters Tonderai Mapunde and Victor Zimbawo received special mention from Ewing and could be valued additions to the side that failed to qualify for the World Cup early this year.
On whether any foreign-based players would make the Cheetahs this season, Ewing said: “It depends on availability, really. But we will not select foreign-based players just for the sake of it. If the locally based guys are equally good, they’ll have their berth.”
Meanwhile, the curtain comes down on the Northern region summer series at Old Hararians Sports Club tomorrow. Defending champions Harare Sports Club are firm favourites to seal their third and series-clinching tournament.