Mitchell backs Cheetahs for Moscow upset

Former Cheetahs Fly-half Grant Mitchell has backed the Cheetahs to cause some major upsets at the 2013 Sevens Rugby World Cup finals starting in Moscow today.

Report by Kevin Mapasure

The Cheetahs will play all of their three Pool matches this weekend and are confident after their best preparations yet.

Mitchell, who has represented Zimbabwe at the global showcase, said it was good the team had made thorough preparations and should bank on the experience of the last tournament to help them through.

“I think the good thing is that they have made thorough preparations. They had an increased preparations squad from the traditional 16 players to 22 which was good for competition,” said Mitchell. “Some players were contracted which gave them a good opportunity for strength and condition. They had a successful camp in the run-up to the competition and Liam Middleton came back from the UK to help the technical team. We have six players who played in the squad at the last World Cup in Moscow and learned a lot from the last tournament which will be useful going into this one. Experience counts a lot in these tournaments. So I think the conditions are set for them to do well and I am confident that they will do well.”

Captain Jacques Leitao and his deputy Daniel Hondo, prolific wing Wensley Mbanje, Gardner Nechironga, playmaker Tangai Nemadire and Fortune Chipendu were all part of the Cheetahs squad that won the Bowl title in Dubai.

But having been placed in the same Pool as Samoa Kenya and the Philippines, the Cheetahs face a daunting task to progress to the quarter finals of the main competition.

Mitchell said there is every chance the team can pull an upset.

“You have got to back the team all the way and despite tough opposition I still think they can succeed. You will see some fantastic upsets at this tournament; it always happens and I hope it will be Zimbabwe beating one of the giants,” he said.

Zimbabwe will play Samoa today before they complete their Pool schedule with two matches against Kenya and the Philippines tomorrow.

Samoa coach Stephen Betham expects a tough match against Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwe will be hard to beat; they always come out well,” said Betham.