Young Sables take on rivals Namibia

MIDDLEBURG - Zimbabwe's Under-18 rugby team will be hoping change of fortune when they face Namibia this morning in their final game at the Coca Cola Craven Week at Middleburg High School.

Zimbabwe and Namibia are the only two national sides that play in this tournament, against South African provincial select sides.

The Young Sables have struggled for form in this edition and are yet to register a win in this year’s tournament.

Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) president John Falkenberg is expected to grace this blockbuster match.

Zimbabwe last beat Namibia at the Under-18 Craven Week in 2010 in a fiercely contested match at North West Stadium in Welkom, which ended 31-20.

Namibia have dominated the last encounters and last year posted a big win over Godwin Murambiwa’s teenagers, winning 31-10 In Polokwane.

Young Sables skipper and tight-head prop Stephen Bhasera was upbeat and believes his team can break the jinx.

“We just need to work on our defence, if we can get that right we can beat them,” said Bhasera.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe suffered a huge blow after first-choice flyhalf Angus was ruled out with a groin injury and will be replaced by utility back Campbell Nyakudya.

Hooker Lebonga Ngwenya has been re-instated into the team to fix the line-out woe.

Industrious flank Brian Mutanga has managed to keep his spot in the team. His explosiveness will be needed to clout holes in the Namibia defence.

Murambiwa has gone for skill in the backline in a bid to play a fast-paced game which could hurt the Namibians, who are not very mobile and like to play a slow game which fits their frame.

Zimbabwe need to front up in defence and let tackles stick if they are to stand any chance of beating the old enemy.

Starting XV: 15. Shaun Synder, 14. Tawanda Ngosi, 13. Tapiwa Mazorodze, 12. Matthew Ushewokunze , 11. Tarisai Mapfumo, 10. Campbell Nyakudya, 9. Ngoni Zinyama, 8. Daniel Nyamugama, 7. Brian Mutanga, 6. Cole Bond, 5. Eli Snyman, 4. Tinashe Gonese, 3. Stephen Bhasera, 2. Lebonga Ngwenya, 1. Ackim Sibanda.

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