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Cheetahs hope for better performance

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The national rugby Sevens team, the Cheetahs, will be hoping for a better performance when they square off against Wales, Fiji and Portugal on the opening day of the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth today.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens is the third leg of the IRB Sevens World Series.

The Cheetahs will be desperate for a good performance in their first match against Wales which kicks off 11:59am as it will set the tone for the latter matches against Fiji (2:43pm) and Portugal (5:49pm).

Zimbabwe’s preparations have been affected by withdrawals by key players with skipper Jacques Leitao and his deputy Daniel Hondo due to work commitments and injury respectively.

Cape Town-based Mike Morris and the explosive Zimbo Busters backliner Lloyd Machanjaire have been called up to fill the gap.

Bruce Hobson, the Cheetahs’ team manager confirmed the two changes in an interview with NewsDay Sport from South Africa yesterday.

“Jacques Leitao is unavailable because of work commitments while Danny Hondo got injured in Dubai. Mike Morris and Lloyd (Machanjaire) have already come in as their replacements.

“We are aiming to improve from our performance in Dubai although we are aware that it won’t be easy as we will come up against some strong teams,” said Hobson.

The Cheetahs overcame embarrassing defeats to England (43-0), France (26-0) and US (41-7) to reach the Shield semi-final at the Dubai leg last weekend and will draw further inspiration from their shock 21-5 victory over Kenya on the opening day last Friday.

The Kenyans, who the Cheetahs also beat South Africa last year on their way to lifting the Shield, are a core team on the nine-legged HSBC Sevens World Series.

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