ZIMBABWE’S Under-18 rugby team will be hoping for a winning start to their 2014 Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week campaign when they tackle Eastern Province Country Districts in their opening match at Middleburg Technical High School this morning.
DANIEL NHAKANISO IN MIDDELBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
The match kicks off at 1000 hours and will be broadcast live on SuperSport 1.
Gifted with a slightly heavier pack of forwards compared to their opponents, the Old Mutual Young Sables will be confident of dominating the tight exchanges and bully their opponents into submission.
In tight head prop Tinashe Bhasera, who is also the skipper of the side and lock forward Tinashe Gonese, Zimbabwe also boast experienced personnel in the forwards department.
The duo together with wing Tawanda Ngosi are making their second appearance at the Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week after making their debuts at last year’s competition in Polokwane.
It will also be crucial for Zimbabwe to dominate their opponents during set piece time and with towering lock Eli Snyman – one of the tallest locks in the competition — they could have an edge during the line-outs.
Old Mutual Young Sables coach Godwin Murambiwa said he was hoping for consistency from his charges, who are hoping to emulate the 2007 side which won all three matches at the competition.
Murambiwa also revealed that they were under pressure to beat old foes Namibia, who they play in their last match on Saturday.
“We just hope to be consistent, obviously firstly we are targeting to win our first game,” he said.
“There’s a bit of extra pressure in that the Zimbabwe Rugby Union has instructed that we need to win our game against Namibia.
However, as you know we play our them in our third game so we will focus on one game at a time and hopefully come away with three wins starting against Eastern Province Country Districts,” Murambiwa said.
The Old Mutual Young Sables, who arrived in Middleburg around midday, had a light session late yesterday in preparation for today’s match.
Zimbabwe Under-18 Starting Team (1-15): J Mendelsohn, L Ngwenya, S Bhasera (C), T Gonese, E Snyman, J Makoni, C Bond, D Nyamugama, C Nyakudya, A Bruce, B Muriyengwa, M Ushewokunze, D McRoberts, T Ngosi, T Mapfumo.