Zimbabwe Sables’ preparations for the 2015 World Cup which have been nonexistent could get the jump start they need if plans to lure former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers to help the team bear fruit.
De Villiers was in the country last week for the Dairiboard Kyros Rugby Academy Week hosted by Watershed School.
During his visit he met Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) officials and expressed interest in returning on more rugby-related missions including helping the Sables if the country’s supreme body can persuade the South African Rugby Union (Saru) to fund the project.
The Sables are set for bruising contests for a single automatic England 2015 berth together with Namibia, Kenya and Madagascar in June.
The qualifiers will be played on a round robin format with the table toppers winning a World Cup ticket while the runners-up secure a play-off with a European team.
Kenya has made the best of preparations so far by playing in the Vodacom Cup, while for Zimbabwe there has been nothing to speak of.
The Sables will tour South Africa where they will play provincial sides ahead of the qualifiers to be staged in Madagascar.
Yesterday Zimbabwe Rugby announced that the proposed home tour by a European nation had been cancelled.
The expertise and experience of de Villiers would be invaluable for the cash-strapped ZRU with the coach having expressed concerns about the Sables’ preparations.
De Villiers has been impressed more by Kenya’s efforts and believes Zimbabwe would need to do more for the team to gel and bond.
He said by playing in South Africa and staying as a unit the team would be better prepared for the World Cup qualifiers.
De Villiers implored ZRU to take advantage of South African resources like what their rivals Namibia and Kenya are doing.
The coach also assisted Kenya last year.
ZRU spokesperson David Crouch would not be drawn into discussing issues to do with the role de Villiers could play in national rugby, but confirmed they were working out something.
“It’s still in its early stages; I can’t discuss at this stage what role he could play, but we have some ideas that we are looking at and next week we will discuss how we can strengthen ties between the two nations. We will discuss how South Africa can have a role in the development of Zimbabwean rugby.”
According to sources de Villiers might come back during the Dairiboard Schools Rugby festival to meet Zimbabwe’s director of rugby, Liam Middleton.
It is the expected visit of Saru president Oregan Hoskins next week that is crucial to any deal and if Saru can agree to pay de Villiers, the respected coach could soon be sharing his knowledge with Sables coach Bruce Hobson, his assistant Cyprian Mandenge and the players.
Fifty-five players have been lined up for Sables training which starts next month ahead of the South African tour.