Jaws praises Craven Week squad

HARARE - Zimbabwe Under-18 coach Godwin “Jaws” Murambiwa has termed this year’s Old Mutual Craven Week team selected at the weekend as a ‘comprehensive side’.

Murambiwa believes the squad dominated by Falcon College players has the experience to surpass the country’s previous outings at the age grade tournament in South Africa.

The Paul Roos Gymnasium will host this year’s U-18 Craven Week from July 13 to July 18 in Stellenbosch.

The Young Sables’ team named on Saturday includes five players who represented the country at last year’s Craven Week whilst a number of players have graduated from the national Under-17 side.

“It’s a comprehensive squad that was picked,” Murambiwa said. “We have a slightly experienced side than the one we took last year and that is the type of experience we are looking for.

“We are hoping to do very well in Stellenbosch. We have a lot of time to prepare before the tournament takes place.”

The trials were held at Falcon in Esigodini with the hosts contributing the bulk of the squad.

The 22-member team includes not less than eight Falcon College rugby players, highlighting their strength in schoolboy rugby this season.

The Brendan Dawson coached side are undefeated since their December tour of South Africa that has culminated into a stormy season decorated by high scoring.

Hooker Brian Mutanga has been an impressive ball carrier for the Maddogs and rightfully got the nod.

St George’s College and Prince Edward School also enjoy some good representation in the side with five and three players respectively.

Harare’s St John’s College, who have not had the best of results this season, are represented by two players.

A further three players made the transition from last year’s Zimbabwe Under-17 team in the form of Falcon College duo of Stuart Dodington and Benjamin Meridith as well Cuan Zeederburg of Peter House.

St George’s College’s explosive back line player Tarisai Mapfumo, Falcon’s trio of Mutanga, Ackim Sibanda, Campbell Nyakudya and St George’s’ Angus Bruce are the five players from last year's Under-18 Craven Week squad.

Mapfumo has been enjoying good form highlighted by being voted Dairiboard School Rugby Festival back line player of the tournament and his experience will bring much needed impetus to the side.

Falcon’s fullback Shaun Synder has also been on song and has been one of the reasons’ why the Bulawayo based school possesses one of the meanest defences in school boy rugby.

However, the tall and agile player, who also represented Zimbabwe Unde-17 as well as last year’s U-18 Craven Week side did not make the main team and is on the reserves list, perhaps highlighting the strength of the side.

Meanwhile, the Old Mutual Zimbabwe Under-18 Craven Week team will be coached by Murambiwa who will be assisted by Cheetahs and Old Georgians scrum-half Graham Kaulback.

Old Mutual are the main sponsors for the junior national sides travelling to South Africa.

SQUAD: Jordan Zietsman, Stuart Dodington, Sam Phiri, Ackim Sibanda, Levi Fagnoli, Brian Muntanga, Campbell Nyakudya, Benjamin Meridith (Falcon), Kevin Chisango, Angus Bruce, Sam Barnett, Tarisai Mapfumo, Tinashe Muchena (St Georges), Tinotenda Vheriwa, Cuan Zeederburg (Peter House), Aiden Burnett, Cameroon Harrison (St John’s), Liam Kenny, Ernest Mudzengerere, Russell Dhina, Shingi Katsvere (Prince Edward).

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