ZIMBABWE are without Brandon Mandivenga for tomorrow’s Victoria Cup tie with Uganda here, amid concerns that the new captain might be out for the rest of the season due to a nagging ankle injury.
Enock Muchinjo in KAMPALA, Uganda
England-based scrumhalf Hilton Mudariki, the team’s vice-captain, will lead the side in Mandivenga’s absence.
The Sables made light work of Zambia in the tournament’s opening fixture, defeating their neighbours 39-10 in Harare a fortnight ago.
The Ugandans are more formidable opposition, and they will turn up at Kyadondo Rugby Club tomorrow keen to avenge last year’s 38-18 home defeat to Zimbabwe in the World Cup qualifiers.
On the other hand, rebuilding Zimbabwe, who spent six weeks in the SuperSport Challenge in South Africa, are eager to continue taking that experience into Test rugby.
Mandivenga’s injury sees Kuziwakwashe Kazembe slot in at flyhalf from his regular position of scrumhalf.
Jerry Jaravaza, the preference choice in the number 10 shirt after Mandivenga, was not available for the Kampala trip.
The backline also sees a few more changes, with out-of-form fullback Kuda Chiwanza dropped from the touring party altogether. Martin Mangongo, who impressed on the wing on his international debut against the Zambians, switches to fullback.
Utility back Shayne Makombe, who plays in France, makes a welcome return to the side to partner strongly-built inside centre Ngoni Chibuwe in Zimbabwe’s midfield. Another returnee in the backline is left wing Matthew McNab.
The only new international name among the starting XV is in the forwards, where the gifted 21-year-old Aiden Burnett makes his debut at eighthman ahead of the experienced Njabulo Ndlovu.
In other changes upfront, Tyran Fagan reverts to loosehead in a front row that has hooker Matthew Mandioma and number 3 David Makanda.
Veteran Jan Ferreira brings bags of experience to Brendan Dawson’s team, teaming up with Godfrey Muzanargwo as the lock pairing for the Sables.
Muzanargwo made his debut at number 8 against Zambia.
Three uncapped players will start on the bench. These are loosehead Tatenda Rwenyu, outside centre Rufaro Chikwaira and utility back Dudlee White-Sharpley.
Zimbabwe starting line-up
15. Martin Mangongo 14. Takudzwa Kumadiro 13. Shayne Makombe 12. Ngoni Chibuwe 11. Matthew McNab 10. Kuziwakwashe Kazembe 9. Hilton Mudariki (captain), 8. Aiden Burnett 7. Brian Nyaude 6. Blithe Mavesere 5. Godfrey Muzanargwo 4. Jan Ferreira 3. David Makanda 2. Matthew Mandioma 1. Tyran Fagan.
Subs: 16. Keith Murray 17. Tatenda Rwenyu 18. Royal Mwale 19. Biselele Tshamala 20. Njabulo Ndlovu 21. Dudlee White-Sharpley 22. Rufaro Chikwaira 23. Takudzwa Chieza.