Kenya expect physical battle against Sables


KENYA coach Jerome Paarwater expects a huge physical onslaught from Zimbabwe when the two sides clash in their Africa Cup rugby encounter on June 13 at Prince Edward School in the capital.


“Zimbabwe are a very physical and strong side especially in set piece and play with structure.”

“We must be mentally resilient and convert our chances when we get them in the match,” the South African-born coach said ahead of the highly-anticipated clash.

Paarwater, who watched his side romp to a dominant 41-15 win over Portugal last weekend, said his charges would need to improve in the forwards department where the Sables are expected to be dominant.

“Our forward play on Saturday was good, but it can get better. We expect a stern test against Zimbabwe especially in the pack and we must be able to match them,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kenya were dealt a major blow after their South Africa-based star Willy Ambaka was ruled out of the tie against Zimbabwe due to club commitments.

The utility back is teammates with Zimbabwean loose forward Tapiwa Tsomondo at Western Province and the duo have both not been released by their club after featuring in the Vodacom final at the weekend.

Unlike their opponents, Zimbabwe have not had the opportunity to play any competitive matches ahead of the encounter, but will still head into the match as favourites.

The last time the two teams met, the Sables beat Kenya 28-10 in a 2015 Rugby World Cup qualifier in Madagascar last year to deny the East African nation a dream ticket to England.

The Sables would, however, also go on to miss out on qualification to the World Cup to old foes Namibia as they needed to win their match against Kenya with a bonus point.

Unlike their opponents who had a high-profile match against Portugal, the Sables will have to be content with a week-long training camp in the capital before the match on June 13.

The foreign-based players have already started arriving after the Zimbabwe Rugby Union on Tuesday released a strong 34-member training squad which will be trimmed to 23 players.

Sables Training Squad

Forwards: Denford Mutamangira, Tatenda Murwira, Farai Mudariki, Pieter Joubert, Lawrence Clemenson, Royal Mwale, Kudzai Muzorewa, Jan Ferreira, Martin Wolfenden, Sanele Sibanda, Biselele Tshamala, Tadiwa Parirenyatwa, Andrew Rose, Fortune Chipendu, Kingsley Lang, Shingai Mpofu, David Makamba
Backs: Charles Jiji, Taddy Whata, Tichafara Makwanya, Lenience Tambwera, Boyd Rouse, Riaan O’Neil, Stephan Hunduza, Gardner Nechironga, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Tangai Nemadire, Lungile Tshuma, Malvern Maparura, Cleopas Makotose, Daniel Capsopolous, Kuda Chiwanza, Mclean Muhambi, Andrea Banda, Kilvan Magunje