BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
SABLES coach Brendan Dawson has added more firepower to his squad after making five changes to the starting line-up for the second international friendly against Zambia to be played at the Machinery Exchange Stadium at Harare Sports Club today.
The former Zimbabwe captain bemoaned his players’ lack of competitive match fitness after they struggled in the second half of the first match against the same side in midweek. They still won comfortably 31-8 at the same venue.
New Zealand-based loose head prop Doug Juszczyk, who scored a brace of tries on debut is the only survivor in the front row where he will be joined by Poland-based hooker Royal Mwale and tight head Cleopas Mandiona, who came on as a second half replacement on Wednesday.
Dawson has kept faith in his twin locks Godfrey Muzanargwo and Sean Beevor while man of the moment Tinotenda Mavesere has been replaced by Biselele Tshamala at flank due to a fractured hand.
The other changes are in the back three where Poland-based livewire winger Martin Mangongo replaces Takudzwa Kumadiro at right wing while the versatile Shingi Katsvere starts ahead of Darrel Makwasha.
The duo together with fullback Brandon Mandivenga, who retains his place in the starting line up while will be looking to give Zimbabwe the pace and finishing prowess in attack which was missing in the second half of the first match.
With US-based highly rated flyhalf Jason Robertson still unavailable, Dawson has kept faith in the half-back pairing of skipper Hilton Mudariki and Riaan O’Neill as well as the centre pairing of Takudzwa Chieza and Brendon Mudzekenyedzi.
The strength of the Sables bench is best encapsulated by players like France-based centre Shayne Makombe, prop Tyran Fagan and Dudlee White-Sharpley.
Meanwhile, the Sables will continue their preparations for the first phase of the 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers with another double-header of preparatory matches against rivals Namibia in Harare on June 12 and in Windhoek on June 19.
They will then head to South Africa for a date with a Blue Bulls select side at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on July 3 before heading to Tunisia in July for this year’s leg of the 2023 World Cup qualifiers.
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