The Sables seek to regain confidence in Amsterdam

DANIEL NHAKANISO
THE Sables will be aiming to produce a thought-provoking performance when they take on the Netherlands in a top-flight Test match at the National Rugby Center Amsterdam in the Dutch capital tomorrow.

The match takes place exactly one week before the Zimbabwe side begin their Rugby Africa Cup 2022 campaign in France and is the last opportunity for the Les Sables players to claim a place in the Rugby Africa Cup quarter-finals against Côte d’Ivoire on July 2.

This year’s Rugby Africa Cup, to be held in France from July 1-10, also serves as the final round of Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifiers for African countries.

Winning against the top-ranked Dutch side in Amsterdam would give even more confidence to a side that 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 in the latest World Rugby rankings, eight places higher than the 34th-ranked Zimbabwe side.

Sables head coach Brendan Dawson said a positive result against the higher-seeded Netherlands would give the Sables confidence ahead of the game against the Sables.

“We’re really excited about the Netherlands Test, obviously it’s important that we do well against the Netherlands ahead of the World Cup qualifiers. The development of camping weeks in South Africa comes straight into the game. from the Netherlands,” Dawson said. “It will be great preparation for us to see and make sure everything we have practiced in the last 12 weeks in the Currie Cup comes to fruition. The majority of players are in the camp and it’s exciting that we’re on a European tour after so many years, it will be interesting to apply what we practiced in the Currie Cup.

Dawson has named a solid squad for the game, except for a few players who have been rested or have yet to join camp.

Among the absentees is Pumas full-back Tapiwa Mafura, who is set to join the team after appearing in tomorrow’s Currie Cup final against Griquas.

South African-born free striker Jason Fraser, who is a teammate of injured first rower Farai Mudariki Nevers in the French Pro D2, is one of several Test debutants named in the squad to face the Netherlands.

Other debutants in the starting 15 are Hong Kong-based number eight Nyasha Tarusenga and Zimbabwe Under-20 captain Takudzwa Musingwini, who starts at the back.

Les Sables Game Day Team

(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.

Subs: Victor Mupunga, Liam Larkan, Bornwell Gwinji, Godwin Mangenje, Johan du Preez, Kyle Galloway, James Forrester, Ngoni Chibuwe.

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