The Zimbabwe Sevens national rugby team’s technical department on Thursday named a strong 12-man Cheetahs squad for the annual Castle Sevens Rugby tournament which gets underway in Lusaka, Zambia, this weekend.
The Cheetahs leave for Lusaka this morning and are not leaving anything to chance hence the decision to pick their strongest available squad for the regional tournament.
The squad has a wealth of experience with seven of the players boasting experience at the highest level of the game, having represented the country at the International Rugby Board World Sevens Series in recent years.
Germany-based Manasah Sita, skipper Jacques Leitao, Daniel Hondo, Fortune Chipendu, Wes Mbanje, Gardner Nechironga and Njabulo Ndlovu have formed the nucleus of the team in recent seasons and their experience will be crucial for Zimbabwe.
In an interview with NewsDay Sport on Thursday, Cheetahs team manager Bruce Hobson said while he was pleased with the experience in his team he was also happy to see the youngsters coming through the ranks.
“It’s always good to have experienced players in the team especially when you are playing in a tournament where the stakes are high. I believe we have a very strong side with a good blend of youth and experience.
“It’s also nice to see the youngsters coming through. Last year Tafadzwa Chitokwindo and Justin Coles graduated from the developmental side, the Goshawks and this year it’s nice to see Lloyd Machanjaira coming through,” said Hobson.
Explosive Zimbo Busters winger Lloyd Machanjaira was the only new face in the Cheetahs’ squad named on Thursday, having featured in the developmental side the Goshawks last season.
The utility backliner was a revelation for the XVs national team, Sables campaign early this year, where his versatility proved to be an asset to the team.
Youthful tear-away winger Tafadzwa Chitokwindo managed to retain his place in the side and will be hoping to continue with the brilliant form he showed last season while Graham Kaulback, Justin Coles and Jonathan MacWade are also some of the up-and-coming youngsters who have retained their places in the squad.
The Cheetahs go into this tournament as defending champions after winning the title last year and in the process equaling Mpumalanga Province’s record of four times at the tournament.