SABLES captain Denford Mutamangira says his charges are ready to put their bodies on the line in search of their first Test win of the season when they face Kenya today in a must win World Cup qualifier against hosts Kenya at the RUFEA Ground in Nairobi today.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO IN NAIROBI, KENYA
After drawing 23-23 against Morocco in their opening game at home on June 16, nothing short of a convincing win against the East Africans will be enough for the Sables’ 2019 Rugby World Cup qualification hopes.
And in Kenya, they meet a confident side currently on a high after rallying back to beat Morroco 24-28 in their opening match played in Casablanca last week.
Kenya’s win came despite some internal strife in their camp over unpaid salaries.
Mutamangira, who will earn his 50th Sables cap today, however, refused to read much into their opposition.
Instead the inspirational Harare Sports Club star said his charges were determined to make up for their disappointing start by getting their campaign back on track with a victory against the Kenyans in their own backyard.
“They need to worry more about us than we need to worry about them. We are concentrating more on our game and how we want to play and put them under pressure and I can assure you the guys know what this game means to our nation and our hopes of qualifying for the World Cup,” the inspirational 34 year-old loose head prop told NewsDay Sport in Nairobi yesterday.
“Nothing less than a win is going to be good enough and we’re very determined to win this game. We’re going to put our bodies on the line to make sure we get that victory.”
Sables coach Peter de Villiers has rung the changes from the side that drew against Morroco with two debutants expected to start against the Kenyans tomorrow while there are also four new faces on the replacements bench.
South Africa-born lock forward Johannes Stander is set to earn his maiden Test cap in the Sables second row, with Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa, who had a good game against Morocco dropping to the replacements bench.
Stander, whose young brother Johan is still awaiting clearence from World Rugby to play for Zimbabwe will partner veteran Fortune Chipendu, who will earn his 70th Sables cap today.
The other change in the starting XV will see former youth international Ernest Mudzengerere earning his first cap at scrumhalf, replacing vice captain Hilton Mudariki, who is unavailable due to club commitments in England.
Sables Starting XV
Denford Mutamangira, David Mukanda, Farai Mudariki, Johannes Stander, Fortunate Chipendo, Takudzwa Mandiwanza, Connor Pritchard, Tapfuma Parirenyatwa, Ernest Mudzengerere, Lenience Tambwera, Mathew McNab, Brandon Mandivenga, Kudzai Mashawi, Takudzwa Kumadiro, Shingirai Katsvere