Zimbabwe select rugby side, Goshawks’ forwards pack must step up to the challenge in tonight’s high profile friendly encounter against South African Currie Cup side Valke at Harare Sports Club if the hosts are to stand a chance of coming out with a good result.
The match kicks off at 17:00 hours.
Valke, who are used to the physical game in the Currie Cup and the Vodacom Cup competitions in South Africa, will be counting on their strong pack, especially in the tight five to unsettle the hosts.
“We are hoping it will be hard and physical,” declared Valke coach John Williams during yesterday’s pre-match Press conference at the match venue.
“That’s the way we like to play our rugby. In the competition that we play that’s how they play and we will be hoping that that’s the way it goes,” said the former Namibia coach.
With the pack likely to be the most critical department for the Goshawks, the front row trio tight-head Tinashe Bopoto, hooker Devon Esbach and loose-head prop Denford Mutamangira will have a crucial role to play in today’s match
Skipper Costa Dinha’s experience and stabilising influence will also be vital in the second row where he will be looked upon to guide young Jan Ferreira.
The Goshawks will however be well covered in the loose trio department which has flankers Jacques Leitao, Fortune Chipendu and Norman Mukondiwa at eighthman.
Leitao and Chipendu are probably the fittest and better-conditioned players in the team due to their involvement in the HSBC World Sevens series this season.
Goshawks coach Brendan Dawson said he was confident young flyhalf Lenience Tambwera would play a key role in his debut at senior level after graduating from the Young Sables.
“He’s a hell of a young player at only 19 but he’s full of flair and confidence. He’s very keen to take the ball up. He’s come up the ranks from the Under-19s and did very well there so this is his chance and hopefully he’ll take it and move on from there,” said Dawson.
Realising how the backline will be crucial, the Goshawks’ technical department has opted for the tried and tested centre pairing of Danny Hondo and Cleopas Makotose.
“I think we are prepared for the match. I believe the local-based players are going to stand up and make themselves counted for the Tunisia tour.
“It a great honour for us to be playing Valke. They are a Currie Cup side, and they are a professional side while we are still an amateur side. So we are only going to gain from it.”
Goshawks’ Starting XV: 15. Danny Robertson 14. Wesley Mbanje 13. Cleopas Makotose 12. Daniel Hondo 11. Kuda Chiwanza 10. Lenience Tambwera 9. Charles Jiji 8. Norman Mukondiwa 7. Fortune Chipendu 6. Jacques Leitao 5. Jan Ferreira 4. Costa Dinha 3. Tinashe Bopoto 2. Devon Esbach 1. Denford Mutamangira