The Zimbabwe Sevens national rugby team, the Cheetahs, will go into camp on Monday ahead of the start of Castle Sevens tournament in Lusaka Zambia this weekend.
The Cheetahs team manager Bruce Hobson last week named a strong 15-man training squad for the regional tournament which runs concurrently with the Confederations of African Rugby (CAR) qualifiers in the Lusaka Showgrounds.
Hobson however told NewsDay Sport in an interview yesterday that South Africa-based Mike Morris, who plays for the University of Cape Town (Ikey Tigers), would no longer be coming after suffering an injury over the weekend.
“The Cheetahs camp starts tomorrow and we expect everyone to be in by end of day. Players plying their trade outside the country will fly in tomorrow and as soon as they arrive we will get down to business.
“Gardner Nechironga, Njabulo Ndlovu, should be here today (yesterday) from South Africa but Mike Morris is no longer coming after he got injured while playing for his club yesterday (Saturday).
“It a pity that he won’t be joining us because this would have been a good time for us to have a look at him, but unfortunately that won’t happen. So far he’s the only withdrawal from the 15-man squad we named. Manase Sita will be arriving tomorrow (Monday) from his base in Germany,” said Hobson.
The Castle Sevens will have a new format this year, combining two tournaments, the CAR seeding tournament for national teams and the other tournament for provincial teams from the region.
The Cheetahs are the red hot favourites to win this tournament against other national teams after having successfully defended their title for a record four successive seasons since 2007. Zimbabwe will however battle it out against Swaziland, Namibia, Uganda, Mauritius, Botswana and hosts Zambia for the coveted title.
Zimbabwe and Zambia will field their developmental sides, known as Goshawks and Lechwe respectively, in the provincial competition that has so far attracted South African provincial sides, Mpumalanga, the Blue Bulls and Elite Reforms.
The Goshawks will be dominated by players from the national Under-20 team while Matabeleland province is sending provincial select team for the tournament.
The Zimbabwe senior Sevens rugby side will bank on their experience from taking part in some legs of the International Rugby Board World Sevens Series in Dubai and George and Hong Kong.
Jacques Leitao, who had a good game when his club Old Georgians beat their rivals Old Hararians over the weekend has been retained as skipper of the side while Daniel Hondo will be his vice-captain. The team is coached by Gilbert Nyamutsamba.
Cheetahs’ training squad: J Leitao (captain), F Chipendu, N Ndlovu, M Sita, J Coles, G Kaulback, K Chiwanza, D Hondo, G Nechironga, W Mbanje, T Chitokwindo, J MacWade, G Sibanda, L Machanjaire
Goshawks training squad: G Meikle, P Bryant, L Mutowoni, S Makuku, J Forrester, J Nicholls, J Ndebele, J Ferreira, T Kuvarega, S Gonese, L Tshuma, M Nel, R Mutangadura, S Makombe