We'll strike balance: Zim Sevens

HARARE - Zimbabwe Rugby Sevens chairperson Donald Mangenje says the shorter-version franchise will find a way of striking some balance to ensure that the country’s two national teams are adequately composed for their conflicting international assignments next month.

The Sables will take part in the Emirates Airline Cup of Nations starting on December 8 while the Sevens outfit, nicknamed the Cheetahs, travel across the border to South Africa to play in the second leg of the IRB World Sevens Series in Port Elizabeth.

Press reports indicated the Cheetahs contingent of the Sables would opt for the Port Elizabeth tournament at the expense of the Sables, a move which will severely weaken the country’s number one rugby team at a tournament they desperately need to impress to justify their rating.

But in a response to an article carried in this paper yesterday, Mangenje said the two teams will have to split key players to maintain a sense of balance.

“We have to strike some balance,” Mangenje told the Daily News yesterday. “As the Cheetahs, we also need some big guns for Port Elizabeth.

“The Port Elizabeth tournament is not a development tournament; it’s an IRB tournament, just like the Dubai tournament. So it’s equally important. We have to blend youth and experience. If we go and lose, we will face the music back home. Our games will be live on TV, so everyone has a chance to watch and criticise.

“Yes, the Fifteens is the flagship, just like anywhere in the world. But the thing is both teams must do well, we just need to strike a balance.”

Mangenje — who won both Sables and Zimbabwe Sevens caps in his playing days — said the Cheetahs technical bench will make a decision on which players to avail for Sables selection when camp begins next week, after having a look at the team’s positional combinations.

Counterpart Sables head coach Brendan Dawson and his Sevens counterpart Gilbert Nyamutsamba are both based in Bulawayo, which Mangenje says will help facilitate dialogue between the two. - Sports Writer

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