Young Sables braced Under-20 Barthes Trophy Challenge

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Martin Shone

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

ZIMBABWE Rugby Union (ZRU) vice-president Martin Shone believes the local rugby governing body has laid a solid foundation for the national Under-20 rugby team to succeed when they represent the country in the U20 Barthes Trophy in Kenya next month.

The Under-20 Barthes Trophy which is named after the late World Rugby’s Rugby Services Manager for Africa, Jean-Luc Barthes, is the biggest competition for Under-20 players on the continent. The winners qualify for the World Rugby Junior Trophy.

This year’s tourney will be played in Kenya from April 9-17.

Zimbabwe will be joined in the six-team competition by the hosts Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal, Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire and Zambia.

Shone, who has been playing a key role in ensuring that the team’s preparations go smoothly is confident that the Shaun De Souza coached side will do well in Kenya.

“The preparations have been going on very well, we’ve got a lot of support from the National Technical Committee, who have been working very closely with the head coach Shaun (De Souza) and his technical team,” Shone said in an interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday.

“I think the guys are more than ready but obviously we are not taking anything to chance. The guys are raring to go, we’ve got a very good squad and I think the coach will have a headache when he picks his final squad because the guys are equally as good.”

Despite the main focus being on the Sables’ bid to qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup in France, the ZRU leadership has ensured all national none of their national teams have been forgotten with the women’s side, the Cheetahs and the Young Sables receiving the necessary support.

The Young Sables have been regularly as a group since last year, when they played international friendlies against neighbours Zambia.

The team also had an opportunity to get some competitive game time in the Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup, where they competed as the Under-20 High Performance Squad.

Shone believes this should stand the Young Sables in good stead in Kenya.

“We are definitely in with a very big chance in Kenya,” Shone said.  From the union’s perspective I think we managed to get the right people in the right positions with the U20s setup, which should be able to bring us the desired results for this upcoming Barthes U20 Trophy,” the Bulawayo-based rugby administrator said.

Led by well-respected local coach Shaun De Souza, the Young Sables are determined to reclaim their position as one of the top junior teams on the continent and regular participants in the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy.

De Souza is assisted by former Sables captain Costa Dinha and the Gateway sports director Marvin Chirume, who is a former head coach of Zimbabwe’s Under-17 team.

Zimbabwe last featured in the second tier World Rugby competition for Under-20 players when the country hosted the tournament in 2016, while before that the Young Sables qualified for three successive editions of the competitions from 2010 to 2012.

Young Sables Squad

Forwards: Tomuvonga Msasanure, Happias Zhou, Tadiwa Chinwada, Farai Madzima, Martin Hakunavanhu, Nqobile Manyara, Veshal Jasi, Bryan Chiang, Marlon Guwuriro, Tawanda Banda, Takunda Mudzingwa, Simbarashe Siraha, Tamuka Kambani, Tadiwanashe Marumisa, Solomon Zawe, Tanaka GondoMukandapi, Muzuva Gutu, Tendai Chimyama, Tanaka Ndoro, Anthony Kalubi, Denzel Maramba, Andy Maringo, Gary Kagande, Gealan Jaricha</p>

Backs: Carlos Matematema, Panashe Zuze, Shadrick Mandaza, Takudzwa Musingwini, Brendan Marume, Rukudzo Ndoro, Alex Nyamunda, Tanaka Chinyanga, Dion Khumalo, Tanaka Ndabambi, Tavonga Ablant, Tawanda Matipano, Liberty Sibanda, Simbarashe Kanyangarara, Josiah Borerwe, Munotida Marimirofa, Welton Charumbira, Lesley Mubeto, Emmanuel Farawu, Malvin Kativu, Tristan Chiutsi

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