ZIMABWE rugby coach Chris Lampard will try to convince South Africa-based flyhalf Piet Benade to play for Sables in this year’s Africa Cup campaign
when he goes down to assess Zimbabwean players in that country this weekend.
Benade plays for Pumas in the South African Currie Cup, and last played representative rugby in the country for the Zimbabwe Schools Under-18 side in 2000. The former Prince Edward skipper was one of the best schoolboy players of his generation, and played alongside star Springbok utility back Tonderai Chavhanga.
However, Benade has taken rather long to go up the South African game, which many had anticipated, and may see a Zimbabwe career as his only chance to become a full international player.
“We have to see what his position is,” Lampard said. “He’s playing for Pumas and we’ve got to consider him.”
Apart from Benade, the Sables trainer will also assess other South Africa-based players such as hookers Aubrey Dube and Michael Rhodes, loose forward Mbekezeli Ndiweni, centre Ryan Dube, fullback Cleopas Makotose and flyhalf David Cloete as well as other players who have not featured for Zimbabwe.
Lampard however said failure to bring enough foreign-based players will result in him fielding mostly local-based talent again this season.
“The locally-based players have built up confidence, which showed in the later games last year. A lot of them have caught my eye,” he said.
Sables take on Madagascar, who beat them in Antananarivo two years ago, in the opener of the Africa Cup on August 12 in Bulawayo. Madagascar played in the final last year, losing to Morocco.
“The games are getting tougher and tougher in Africa,” Lampard said.
“We’ve got to look ahead considering that Uganda beat Cote d’Ivoire (32-7 in a World Cup qualifier this month). It’s not an easy ride anymore.”