ZIMBABWE will be hard-pressed to do well in the upcoming Tri-Nation International Rugby tournament in Namibia following confirmation by the Namibia Rugby Union that the tourney has been accredited with Test series status by the world rugby governing body International Rugby Board (IRB).
Report by Daniel Nhakaniso Sports Reporter
The cash-strapped Sables will tackle Spain and hosts Namibia in the tournament which will take place in Windhoek from November 10 to 17 and their results will have a bearing on the IRB World ranking.
Bradley Basson, president of the Namibian Rugby Union, said: “This tournament is an accredited Test series of the IRB. We were invited to Europe, but we decided to host a tournament at home so that we could bring more international rugby to our fans and so that we could start filling our stadiums.”
On Monday the Sables received a major boost after moving one place up from 30th to their highest ever ranking of 29th, despite having not played a competitive match since July.
According to the IRB, the Sables’ unexpected rise was made possible by Ukraine’s loss to Germany in a 2015 Rugby World Cup European qualifying match which saw them drop from 29th to 31st.
With both Namibia and Spain currently ranked higher than the Sables on positions 22 and 20
respectively, a good performance will see the Brendan Dawson-coached side close in on their opponents.
The team’s preparations have, however, been dealt a blow due to lack of funding, as the team is battling to secure sponsorship for the trip and December’s tour of Dubai for the Emirates Four Nations Cup.
Dawson will travel to Namibia without his Europe-based stars such as the Scotland-based trio of prop Denford Mutamangira and Shingi Mpofu — who both play for AYR RFC — and Galashiels RFC’s Gerald Sibanda, as well as England-based scrumhalf Charles Jiji.
Sables team manager Losson Mtongwiza told NewsDay Sport that players are expected to converge in the capital on Saturday for full camp ahead of next week’s departure.
Sables Provisional Squad
Forwards: Costa Dinha (captain), Piet Joubert, Jan Ferreira, Jacques Leitao, Norman Mukondiwa, Fortune Chipendu, Takunda Chifokoyo, Tapiwa Mangezi, Lucky Sithole, Biselele Tshamala, Tolerance Zishe, Tinashe Bopoto, Vakai Hove, Jonathan Goosen, Kudakwashe Makuvire.
Backs: Scotty Jones, Tichafara Makwanya, Kudakwashe Chiwanza, Daniel Hondo, Gardner Nechironga, Tangai Nemandire, Lenience Tambwera, Simba Chirimuta, Danny Robertson, Stephen Hunduza, Philemon Machisa, Gavin Nyawata, Justin Coles, Graham Kaulback, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Wes Mbanje, Japhet Ndebele.