THE Sables will be aiming to produce a confidence-boosting performance when they face the Netherlands in a high-profile Test match at the National Rugby Centre Amsterdam in the Dutch capital tomorrow.
The match comes exactly a week before the Zimbabwe side begin their Rugby Africa Cup 2022 campaign in France and is the final opportunity for Sables players to stake their claim for a place in the Rugby Africa Cup quarter-final against Ivory Coast on July 2.
This year’s Rugby Africa Cup, which will be held in France from July 1 to 10, also serves as the final round of the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifier for African countries.
Winning against the higher-ranked Netherlands side in Amsterdam would pour even more confidence into a side who are aiming to win this year’s continental competition and qualify Zimbabwe for their first Rugby World Cup since 1991.
The Netherlands are ranked 26th on the latest World Rugby rankings, eight places higher than the number 34-ranked Zimbabwe side.
Sables head coach Brendan Dawson said a positive result against the higher ranked Netherlands will give the Sables confidence going into the match against Sables
“We are really excited about The Netherlands Test, obviously it’s important that we do well against The Netherlands going into World Cup qualifiers. Development from the weeks of camping in South Africa comes right in the Netherlands game,” Dawson said. “It will be great preparation for us to see and make sure that everything we have been practising in the last 12 weeks in the Currie Cup has come to fruition. The majority of the players are in the camp and it’s exciting that we are on a European tour after so many years. It will be interesting to apply what we have been practising in the Currie Cup.”
Dawson has named a strong squad for the match barring a few players who have either been rested or are yet to join camp.
Amongst the absentees is the Pumas fullback Tapiwa Mafura, who is set to join the squad after featuring in tomorrow’s Currie Cup final against the Griquas.
South Africa-born loose forward Jason Fraser, who is teammates with injured front-rower Farai Mudariki Nevers in the French Pro D2 is one of the several Test debutants named in the squad to face The Netherlands.
The other debutants in the starting 15 are the highly-rated Hong Kong-based number eight Nyasha Tarusenga and Zimbabwe Under-20 team captain Takudzwa Musingwini, who starts at fullback.
Sables Match Day Squad
(1-15): Tyran Fagan, Matthew Mandioma, Cleopas Kundiona, Sean Beevor, Godfrey Muzanargwo, Jason Fraser, Biselele Tshamala, Nyasha Tarusenga, Hilton Mudariki (captain), Marcus Nel, Shingirai Katsvere, Takudzwa Chieza, Matthew McNab, Shayne Makombe, Takudzwa Musingwini.
Replacements: Victor Mupunga, Liam Larkan, Bornwell Gwinji, Godwin Mangenje, Johan du Preez, Kyle Galloway, James Forrester, Ngoni Chibuwe.