THE Zimbabwe Sables team stand a good chance of beating Namibia when the two sides clash in the opening match of the Windhoek Lager Tri-Nations Rugby tournament in Windhoek this afternoon.
REPORT BY HENRY MHARA SPORTS REPORTER
The hosts named a young and inexperienced squad for the match.
Media reports from Namibia yesterday showed the Namibia rugby selectors had named a 26-member developmental squad for the tournament, which will include Spain.
After the Namibia game, the Sables will square off with the European country on Wednesday.
Namibia newspaper AfricanSeer yesterday reported that the selected squad has a combined total of 84 Test caps at an average of only 5,6 per player.
Only eight players including stars prop Johnny Redelinghuys and flanker Renaud van Neel, who represented Namibia at last year’s Rugby World Cup, have been selected.
Namibia will be captained by experienced eighthman PJ van Lill for their opening match.
The newspaper said the hosts could not select some of their regular players like Jacques Burger, Rohan Kitshoff and Morne Blom and lock Nico Esterhuizen due to injuries and club commitments, while lock Heinz Koll has retired.
However, the hosts look very strong in defence with the backline having World Cup players like Eugene Jantjies, Theuns Kotze, Chrysander Botha, Darryl de la Harpe and Danie van Wyk.
“This is the strongest possible group we could select, because we want to give our best performance at this tournament and measure ourselves against the 2012 African champions Zimbabwe and Spain, who are ranked 20th in the world.
“This will give us a very good indication of where we are currently and what we need to focus on for the next eight months, to ensure that we win the Car 1B tournament in July 2013,” Namibia Rugby Union chief executive officer Sybrand de Beer was quoted as saying in the newspaper.
The Sables have enough experience in defence with captain and centre Daniel Hondo, Tangai Nemadire and Gardner Nechironga, all available.
Winger Wes Mbanje, Costa Dinha and Danai Hove have international experience and should provide leadership for the hugely depleted Sables team.
Sables: C Dinha(cpt) T Mangezi, P Joubert, J Ferreira, V Hove, R Mwale, T Chikobvu, F Chipendo, B Tshamala, F Nyabusha, L Sithole, T Chifokoyo, S Makuku, S Jones, P Machisa, L Tambwera, T Makwanya, W Mbanje, J Ndebele, D Hondo, D Robertson, S Makombe, G Nyawata, T Nemadire, G Nechironga.