Following weeks of preparations from the participating teams as well as the organisers, it’s now all systems go as the highly anticipated Spar International 7s rugby kicks off today at Harare Sports Club.
According to the match schedule, it will be non-stop action galore with a total of 22 matches lined up featuring the six international teams, local women and schools teams.
The Cheetahs, who will play all their three Pool matches today, will open their campaign against the South African Buffaloes at 12:11 hours soon after their main rivals, the SA 7s Academy, take on Zimbabwe’s developmental team, the Goshawks.
Addressing a Press briefing yesterday, Cheetahs’ captain Jacques Leitao said he was confident that Zimbabwe would give it their best in their first tournament at home.
“It’s a big opportunity forthe guys to do well in front of their home fans ahead of the Hong Kong 7s and the mood is very high. We are missing two of our players Gardner Nechironga and Njabulo Ndlovu, but Mike Morris and Kilvan Magunje, who has proved himself in local tournaments, have done well and are well able to fill that void,” said Leitao.
Grant Mitchell, the head coach of the development side, the Goshawks, said the team had some exciting young players who were eager to impress and hopefully graduate to the Cheetahs side.
“Yes, there are some exciting young prospects in the Goshawks side. Some of them are fighting for places in the Cheetahs squad and this will be their chance to make a statement,” said Leitao.
Final Squad Selections:
Cheetahs – Jacques Leitao (c), Fortune Chipendu, Justin Coles, Manasah Sita, Graham Kaulback, John McWade, Tangai Nemadire, Danny Hondo, Wes Mbanje, Mike Morris, Gerald Sibanda and Kilvan Magunje (Coach – Gilbert Nyamutsamba / Manager – Bruce Hobson / Physio – Sophia Steffens).
Goshawks – Scotty Jones (c), Tolerance Zishe, Paul Jessub, Lloyd Machanjaire, Stephen Hunduza, Tatenda Mutataguta, Japhet Ndebele, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Craig Elcombe, Kuda Chiwanza, Josh Smallbones and Aaron Ndenenga (Coach – Grant Mitchell / Physio – Margie Gibson)