Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE national Under-18 rugby team coach Scott Gray has bemoaned the little time his side has had to prepare for the Coca-Cola Under-18 Academy Week in Paarl, South Africa.
Since the Old Mutual Zimbabwe Under-18 team was chosen at Falcon College in May, the Junior Sables only had one training camp at St John’s College during the half term break in June.
The team assembled again in Harare last Thursday where they had a training session prior to departure for Paarl, South Africa on Friday.
“We met at St John’s College on Thursday, had training session then met at the airport on Friday to leave for South Africa. We prepared as well as we can with the time we have, every year there is never enough time,’’ Gray said.
Zimbabwe play their first match at the Under-18 Academy Week against Learners with Special Education Needs on Tuesday with their second match to be decided based on their opening match display.
The Junior Sables will most likely play against Namibia on the last day of the tournament on 14 July.
On their opening day, Gray indicated that he has been informed that their opponents are not technically gifted but blessed with physicality.
“They (LSEN) might not be technical as other teams but I have been told that they are physically challenging. We will get to know when we are playing our next match, I would assume we are playing Namibia on the last day,’’ he said.
Led by loose forward Matthew Owuru, the Old Mutual Zimbabwe Under-18 left for Western Cape on Friday and got to watch a Super Rugby match between the Stormers and the Sharks at Newlands.
At the Academy Week last year, Zimbabwe started off with a 62-14 loss to Golden Lions, made a good comeback in their next match with a 64-15 triumph over Border Country Districts but ended badly when they were beaten 27-14 by Namibia.
Old Mutual Zimbabwe for
Under-18 Academy Week
Brendon Sibanda, Patrick Makanza, Adrian Zivanai, Clyde Muzengeza, Ryan Dawson, Matthew Oworu (captain), David Bore, Makanakaishe Timba, Joshua Allardice (vice-captain), Tinashe Hombiro, Mufaro Chareka, Ryan Mutandwa, Jeffrey Antonio-Samuel, Pride Gadzikwa, Brendan Muchopa, Victor Matarise, Ralph Declan, Dylan Utete, Anthony Mundangepfupfu, Alce Melo, Michael Mhute (vice-captain), Kudakwashe Mashonga, Nigel Tinarwo
Head Coach: Scott Gray
Assistant Coach: Basil Dingiswayo
Manager: Simbarashe Dangah