Sables drop captain Dinha

HARARE - Sables coach Brendan Dawson has surprisingly relegated captain Costa Dinha to the bench for today’s second match of the Emirates Airline Cup of Nations against Belgium in Dubai as the Sables technical bench rung three changes to the side that lost 22-7 to Hong Kong in the opener on Saturday.

Today’s match against the European side, which will be broadcast live on SuperSport 1, kicks off at 1530 local time.

Scotland-based flank Shingi Mpofu will now lead the side onto the park at The Sevens in the absence of the 34-year-old experienced skipper while Harlequins lock Sanile Sibanda takes Dinha’s place in the second row.

The changes, however, raise a few eyebrows as it was clearly in the front row where the Sables particularly struggled on Saturday.

The Sables fielded an entirely new front row against Hong Kong, and that experiment was mercilessly exposed by the Asian side. United States-based loose head Simba Musarurwa and England-based tighthead Nick Winwood were the weakest link in the forwards pack.

However the Sables loose trio, well-marshalled by today’s stand-in captain Mpofu and the impressive Old Hararians eighthman Takunda Chifokoyo, shone throughout and caused problems for Hong Kong.

That strength was however not utilised. Overall, the forwards attacks were disjointed; hence the backs didn’t create a single overlap to threatened Hong Kong out wide.

The backline suffered more due to inexperience. Rookie flyhalf Lenience Tambwera was poor with the kicking tee and missed four penalties.

Debutant fullback Johnathan McWade kept kicking the ball away and never joined the line while Tommy Nelson, slotted at centre last minute after Josh Rowe picked up an injury before the match, was not as solid as the coach would have wanted at centre.

Meanwhile, experienced halfback Tichafara Makwanya has reclaimed the number 10 jersey from Tambwera while the fit-again Rowe comes in at inside centre to replace Nelson.


Starting: 15 – Johnathan McWade, 14 – Steven Hunduza, 13 – Gavin Nyawata, 12 – Josh Rowe, 11 – Kuda Chiwanza, 10 – Tichafara Makwanya, 9 – Scotty Jones, 8 – Takunda Chifokoyo, 7 – Biselele Tshamala 6 – Shingi Mpofu (captain), 5 – Sanile Sibanda, 4 – Jan Ferreira, 3 – Nick Winwood, 2 – Keith Murray, 1 – Simba Musarurwa.

Substitutes: 16 – Brian Makamure, 17 – Piet Joubert, 18 – Tapiwa Mangezi, 19 – Costa Dinha, 20 – Tonderai Chigumbura, 21 – Lenience Tambwera, 22 – Graham Kaulback, 23 – Tommy Nelson.

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