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Cheetahs look to improve


AFTER a rather lethargic display during the CAR Africa Cup Sevens tournament on home soil, the Zimbabwe Sevens rugby team will need to significantly raise their game as they face a tough campaign at the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in South Africa this weekend.


The Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay SA Sevens, which is the third round of the nine-legged HSBC Sevens World Series, will take place today and tomorrow at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Gilbert Nyamutsamba’s charges were hardly convincing during the CAR Africa Cup Sevens Championships, although they did just enough to qualify for next year’s core-team qualifying tournament at the Hong Kong Sevens.

The Cheetahs will know that they need a much better perfomance this weekend, starting today when they face three tough fixtures against Argentina (1136), Australia (1430) and Portugal (1748).

Zimbabwe, who are the only the non-core side in Pool B, are yet to participate on the world series this season while their opponents are still fresh from their participation at last week’s Dubai Sevens where Australia lost in the Cup final to South Africa.

The Cheetahs have got good balance in the squad with a mixture of youth and experienced players, which might work in their advantage against their well drilled opponents.

Explosive University of Kwazulu Natal back Shayne Makombe and Old Georgians pacy wing Kuda Chiwanza are expected to debut on the HSBC Sevens World Series.

The Cheetahs will also bank on the raw pace of Stephan Hunduza and Tafadzwa Chitokwindo while experienced players such as skipper Jacques Leitao, Fortune Chipendu and Njabulo Ndlovu will be crucial in ensuring the teams maintains a solid rearguard.

Jacques Leitao will captain the side, deputised by the young Hilton Mudariki, who return to the side after missing the CAR Africa Cup Sevens tournament.

Zimbabwe will be hoping to do better in Port Elizabeth after failing to register a single win at the same tournament last year after defeats to Argentina (31-5), England (35-7) and Samoa (43-0) and Australia (38-5).

Zimbabwe Cheetahs Squad: Fortune Chipendu, Jacques Leitao, Boyd Rouse, Kilvan Magunje, Stephan Hunduza, Shayne Makombe, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Njabulo Ndlovu, Hilton Mudariki, Graham Kaulback, Kuda Chiwanza, Wensley Mbanje

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