ZIMBABWE rugby team head coach Brendan Dawson expressed his disappointment at the postponement of their tour of South Africa which was scheduled for next week due to financial problems.
Dawson and his technical department oversaw the national rugby team’s selection trials held for the past two weeks in the capital in preparation for the matches against Valke and Pumas which had been slated for June 12 and 15 in Johannesburg and Nelspruit respectively.
The former Sables loose forward was hoping to use to the matches to get the measure of his team’s readiness for next month’s Africa Cup Group 1A tournament in Madagascar where they will be out to retain the title they won in Tunisia last year.
A good performance in Madagascar will also see the Sables remain in contention for a place at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. However, after the latest setback, the Sables will have no choice, but to head for Madagascar without having played any preparatory matches.
“It’s definitely a massive blow to our preparations,” Dawson told NewsDay Sport yesterday. “We were taking the tour very seriously because for a change we had a platform to test our preparedness before a major tournament.
“The teams we were going to meet are very competitive and we would also have had a chance to assess some of the new players in a competitive match, but we will have to do with what we have now. For instance when we won the Africa Cup in Tunisia we just met for camp before the tournament, so it won’t be something new to us.
“We cannot continue to dwell on the negatives, but instead look forward and it’s not like we won’t be doing anything until the Africa Cup as we will be meeting as a team every Wednesday until we camp on the 27th of June.
While Zimbabwe was forced to cancel its tour of South Africa, their rivals Kenya are taking their preparations very seriously. The Kenyans arrived in South Africa on Sunday for a 10-day training camp with the Western Province franchise in Cape Town.
In April former Springboks head coach, Peter de Villiers also conducted a week long high performance training camp with the Kenyan team in a deal sponsored the East African side’s sponsors.