South Africa 7s Academy, also known as the Emerging Springboks, will give the Cheetahs their toughest test during the much-awaited Spar International Sevens at Harare Sports Club this
The Emerging Springboks, who were expected in the country last night, act as a feeder side to the South Africa 7s national team, affectionately known as the Blitzbokke (The Springbok 7s).
In fact some of the players who are part of the Emerging Springboks for this weekends tournament, such as Pieter Engelbrecht, MJ Mentz and Chase Minnaar, are already part of the Blitzbokke set-up.
Recently, the esteemed academy enrolled a Zimbabwean player, Preston Bryant, the former Young Sables centre, after he impressed their selectors at the Craven Week Sevens tournament in South Africa last year.
In an interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday, Cheetahs skipper Jacques Leitao admitted that the Emerging Springboks would be their toughest opponent while also declaring they were prepared for the challenge.
The Emerging Springboks will definitely be the toughest of the South African teams. They have some very good players in their team and I think they will be our toughest opposition. Nevertheless, I must say we are prepared for them and we will be looking to knock them out should we meet them, said Leitao.
The Cheetahs and the Emerging Springboks are the two highest seeded teams in the tournament.
This means they will avoid each other in the Pool matches but could confront each other from the semis.
The full complement of the Cheetahs squad went through their paces at Old Georgians Sports Club in the morning and in the evening ahead of the tournament.
Leitao, a veteran of many battles and one of the longest-serving players in the Cheetahs set-up, said his charges were aiming for nothing short of victory on home soil.
The mood is very high in camp and the guys are raring to go and hopefully we will play some entertaining 7s rugby for our fans who are yet to see us playing at home. Its a great opportunity to finally be playing at home.
We are looking to win each game that we play as it is the only way we can win the main cup. We have set high goals for ourselves and hopefully we will achieve them, Leitao said.
The preparations for the tournament were well on course and by late yesterday the hosting venue looked ready for the tournament with the rugby field having been marked in the middle of the lush cricket field.
Pool A: Zimbabwe, Buffaloes, Botswana, Northern Select.
Pool B: SA Academy, Northern Region, Zambia, Goshawks.
Women: Sports Club, Old Hararians, Police, Air Force.