Zimbabwe rugby sevens team manager Bruce Hobson believes that the Sables have the potential to become a force to reckon with on the rugby international scene if they are given adequate financial support.
The Cheetahs’ manager said there was no reason the Sables would not hog the same limelight as other Sevens’ side.
The Sables are the country’s flagship team but have been struggling to make a name for themselves.
Unlike the Cheetahs, who have benefitted from a lot of financial support, the national team does not even have a stable sponsor.
Hobson’s Cheetahs have enjoyed immense success, competing with some of the best teams in the world in prestigious tournaments like the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens Series.
In an interview with NewsDay Hobson spoke about the declining standards of XVs rugby at national team level and what could be done to bridge the gap that seemed to widen by the day.
“It’s very clear that XVs rugby has been left behind, but it’s not intentional,” said Hobson. “One has to understand that it’s been very difficult to set up a national rugby league mainly because there is no sponsorship at all to talk about.
“At the moment it’s basically a player and club management-based league. Individual players and some people in management are having to make personal financial sacrifices to keep the league above water,” said Hobson.
Hobson also spoke about the abundance of talent in the country which he said had the potential to change the fortunes of the Sables if given the opportunity.
“Our type of play obviously favours the Sevens rugby because some of our players are smaller and faster but we have the potential to develop the Sables. World rugby has evolved and it’s no longer about the size of the players but the talent and technical awareness. I believe that our players have what it takes.”
Zimbabwe was once upon a time the third best rugby playing nation on the continent, said Hobson. He said there was no reason the country could not reclaim its status given the chance.
Meanwhile preparations for the new rugby season underway this weekend with a pre-season tournament at St John’s College in which two teams from Bulawayo; Old Miltonians and Western Panthers competed against some of the Harare-based teams.
The tournament was used by the Cheetahs team to prepare for the Hong Kong Sevens tournament starting on March 26.