Skipping Sables remain focused

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

SABLES coach Brendan Dawson says his charges will continue to work hard to keep improving despite taking their winning streak in the ongoing Victoria Cup to three matches and making significant strides on the latest world rankings released by World Rugby on Monday.

The Sables remained unbeaten in the four-nation Victoria Cup after finally ending their four-year losing streak against Kenya when they narrowly beat the Simbas 30-29 in a tightly-contested encounter at Hartsfield Rugby Ground on Saturday.

It was the first time Zimbabwe beat Kenya since they last won 28-20 at Prince Edward’s Jubilee Field in 2015. Since then, Kenya had won all the three next
meetings between the two teams, twice on Zimbabwean soil and once in their own country.

More importantly, the Sables’ impressive win against the higher ranked Kenyans saw them moving two places up to positon 33 on the World Rugby rankings, just
0.02 points behind the Simbas, who are ranked 32nd.

However, Dawson, who is in his second stint as Sables coach after taking Zimbabwe to the brink of 2015 World Cup qualification knows there is still a long
season ahead and is not getting carried away with his team’s unbeaten run so far.

“Obviously, I’m very excited and happy with where we are as a team, but there’s still a long way to go,” Dawson said in an interview with NewsDay Sport
yesterday.

“We didn’t play perfect rugby against Kenya. In fact, we haven’t played a perfect game against everybody yet, so we’ve got a long way to go. We don’t want
everybody to get premature about the three wins because they are now in the past and you’re only as good as your last game. If we end up tumbling against
Uganda at home, then everybody is going to start looking at you in a different light; so we just don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We’ve got to make sure
we keep on training, keep on getting better and better every single time we get together.”

Dawson, whose side hosts Uganda at the Machinery Exchange Rugby Stadium in Harare on August 24 before finishing their campaign with away fixtures against Zambia and Kenya, said he was excited with the talent at his disposal as he looks to build a side for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

“Overall, I’m very excited and very proud of the guys. They really laid their bodies on the line against Kenya and fought right to the end and that’s what we
are eager to get out of our team. We’ve a really good bunch of youngsters who are eager to keep on learning and growing as individuals and rugby players and
that’s really great,” he added.

During Dawson’s previous tenure as Sables coach, Zimbabwe missed out qualifying for the 2015 World Cup by a mere bonus point.

The 51-year-old decorated former Zimbabwe international took over the Sables coaching role in 2007 with the Sables ranked a lowly 57th in the world before taking them to 25th in 2015, which remains the county’s highest ever world ranking to date.

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