ZIMBABWE have pulled out all the stops to clinch the Victoria Cup title tomorrow with a game to spare by strengthening their side in a bid to secure the much-needed bonus point win away to Zambia tomorrow.
The Sables welcome back to the side star tight-head prop Cleopas Kundiona, who has been playing Under-21 Currie Cup rugby with Sharks in Durban and has not featured in Test rugby this year.
More good news for the Sables’ front-row, alongside the availability of Kundiona, is that ever-present loose-head Tyran Fagan has been cleared to play after he
was doubtful due to negotiations over a new deal with a Spanish club.
Elsewhere in the forwards, the utility forward George Saungweme, who brought sanity to Zimbabwe’s second row when the home side edged out Uganda 32-26 in
Harare at the beginning of this month, has been rewarded with a starting line-up role.
The 26-year-old Old Georgians enforcer will play alongside the ever-improving lock Godfrey Muzanargwo (21) in the engine room of the Sables.
The imposing England-based lock Dylan Grogan, who made his debut against the Ugandans and did not set the stage alight as hoped, travels to Lusaka anyhow but
will play no part in the match.
Also in the forwards, another consistent selection for the Sables in recent times, flank Brian Nyaude, has been dropped from the match-day squad that travelled
by road yesterday for the Lusaka Showgrounds battle tomorrow.
Godwin Manjenge, who played lock in his last Test against Kenya in Bulawayo in August, comes in at blind-side flank to partner young Blithe Mavesere at open-
side and eighthman Biselele Tshamala.
There are also a few changes in the backline, where the rookie Rufaro Chikwaira makes his run-on debut at left wing in place of Kuda Chiwanza, who has lost his
Fullback Shingi Katsvere, Zimbabwe’s standout player against Uganda two weeks ago, misses the Lusaka trip due to a slight ankle niggle.
It means the lively 20-year-old Martin Mangongo returns to the starting line-up in the number 15 jersey.
Meanwhile, there was no place for Prince Edward schoolboy sensation Tinashe Hombiro, who was called up to the training squad last week.
The teenage flyhalf will have to wait a little longer to make his Test debut, but Sables team manager Jason Martiz hinted yesterday that the 18-year-old might
not have to wait for too long.
“He will be with us for Kenya game (next weekend),” Maritz said. “Let’s see, but the coaches are happy with his progress.”
15. Martin Mangongo 14. Takudzwa Kumadiro 13. Daniel Capsopolous 12. Ngoni Chibuwe 11. Rufaro Chikwaira 10. Dudlee White-Sharpley 9. Hilton Mudariki (captain),
8. Biselele Tshamala 7. Blithe Mavesere 6. Godwin Mangenje 5. Godfrey Muzanargwo 4. George Saungweme 3. Cleopas Kundiona 2. Keith Murray 1. Tryan Fagan.
Subs: 16. Matthew Mandioma 17. Royal Mwale 18. David Makanda 19. Sean Beevor 20. Tonderai Chiwambutsa 21. Njabulo Ndlovu 22. Jerry Jaravaza 23. Takudzwa
— Staff Writer.