Sables still believe

HARARE - Zimbabwe rugby coach Brendan Dawson is still optimistic of Zimbabwe’s chances of qualifying for next year’s Rugby World Cup despite lack of adequate preparations.

The Sables’ are set to take part in the Conference of Africa Rugby's quadrangular tournament in Madagascar at the end of the month where the winner will take the Africa Cup as well as a ticket to the 2015 World Cup.

However, their preparations have been anything but rosy.

Dawson’s men will have to contend with a 10-day camp in Harare after efforts by the Zimbabwe Rugby Union to secure friendly matches with formidable opponents hit a brick.

“It’s a big problem but we can’t do anything about it,” Dawson said yesterday.

“We do not have the money. We just have to play the best we can and prepare the best we can.  The commercial sector has not come on board so we have to do the best that we can we have.

“We will play amongst ourselves. We are going to play a Possibles versus Probables match. We have had to change our training programme.”

Whilst Zimbabwe will be strutting it out alone, Namibia have lined up a match against South African first-class side Western Province and Blue Bulls.

Their other opponents in Madagascar, Kenya, took part in South Africa’s Vodacom Cup.

Last week, the Central Africans played Western Province in Nairobi, losing out 23-29.

“There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that we can do about it,” Dawson reiterated.

“Yes, they have had better preparation but they may also have injuries that might help us. But look we have to start reporting positively about our chances.”

Assistant coach Cyprian Mandenge, who yesterday took the Harare batch of Sables through their paces at Harare Sports Club, was also hopeful going all the way in Madagascar.

“All the players we have called up are coming in. Some are writing exams but others like (wing) Gerald Sibanda, (flank) Andrew Rose and (prop) Denford Mutamangira are in the country.

“We expect to start camp on Monday.

“We are going to be ready. We are going to have a 10-day camp in Harare then leave for Madagascar on the 26th. Already the guys are playing club rugby so they are already fit,” the Old Hararians coach said.

“As a coach you can never have enough training time, we just have to utilize the time we have.

It’s not going to be easy, but the players have been training hard I’m sure we will do well.”

Meanwhile the team that will come second in Madagascar will go into répechage for a further chance to go to the World Cup.

In répechage, the African team will play Russia as part of the qualifying process.

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