Jacques banks on home advantage

HARARE - Zimbabwe Sevens rugby captain Jacques Leitao believes home advantage will be vital in the Cheetahs’ quest to win the Confederations of African Rugby (Car) Sevens Cup at Prince Edward School over the weekend. 

On paper, South Africa’s Sevens Academy team and Kenya are likely to be the hosts’ biggest threat, but Leitao says it would be folly to underrate any team.

“In Sevens you can’t really underestimate any team based on past performances,” Leitao told the Daily News yesterday. 

“It’s very tricky with Sevens, that’s why we just play each game as it comes. Our goal is to win. I think our biggest advantage is that we are playing at home. You don’t get too many home tournaments so we have to make full use of this opportunity.”

Leitao said Zimbabwe will use flair and pace as weapon.

“We are very fast side,” said the Old Georgians star. “So I don’t think that has changed. We are just going to play to our strength. Our Summer Series gave us good competition, especially matches between Harare Sports Club and Old Georgians. It gave locally-based guys a good test of what to expect.”

The hosts will miss the services of playmaker Lenience Tambwera due to injury.

“To lose our playmaker in the run up to the tournament has affected us. But I also feel it’s an opportunity for the guys on the fringes to step up,” Leitao said.

32-year-old Leitao, who has also been a Sables stalwart for a number of years, admitted the younger players in the side were exerting pressure on the old guard.

“With the quality youngsters coming through it puts a bit of pressure on me,” he said. “But I still feel I’m still giving value. But when it’s time to passing the button, I will be happy to do so.”

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