United Kingdom-based utility player Justin Coles says he is confident that the Zimbabwe 7s national rugby team will impress when they play their first tournament on home soil in the inaugural Spar International 7s tournament at Harare Sports Club cricket pitch.
The Cheetahs have done well in various tournaments around the world, but are yet to showcase their talent on home soil, making this weekend’s tournament special.
Six international teams such as South Africa Sevens Academy, Pumas, Buffaloes and Northern Region (all from South Africa), Zambia and Botswana will be joined by the Cheetahs and their second-string side, the Goshawks.
All the foreign teams taking part in the tournament are expected to be in the country tomorrow.
“Playing for the Cheetahs for the first time on our home turf will definitely be a wonderful experience and the boys are looking forward to it,” Coles told NewsDay Sport on Saturday.
“We have played in various tournaments around the world on the IRB circuit, but it cannot be compared to playing in front of our fans.”
Coles said the Spar International 7s tournament would be important for the Cheetahs’ preparations for the Hong Kong 7s later this month where they will be seeking core status on the IRB World Circuit.
The 20-year-old speedster — who is on a full rugby scholarship at Hartpury College in the UK — was one of the first foreign-based players to arrive in the country for the international tournament.
He immediately showed his class by scoring three superb tries that inspired his local team Old Georgians to the domestic Spar Summer 7s Series courtesy of a 29-16 win over rivals Harare Sports Club.
Meanwhile, Gilbert Nyamutsamba has been confirmed at the Cheetahs’ substantive coach taking over from UK-based Liam Middleton, who is now the team’s director of coaching.
Middleton has been unable to work with the Cheetahs on a full- time basis due to commitments in the UK where he is now the head coach at Bristol RFC.
The chairman of the Zimbabwe 7s rugby committee Donald Mangenje said Middleton would assist the team during the London and Scotland legs of the IRB World Series.
F Chipendu, J Leitao (captain), M Morris, M Sita, J Coles, G Kaulback, K Magunje, D Hondo, G Sibanda, T Nemadire, J McWade, W Mbanje, T Chitokwindo, N Ndlovu, G Nechironga
Head Coach: G Nyamutsamba
Team Manager: Bruce Hobson