HARARE - Zimbabwe rugby coach Cyprian Mandenge insists there will be nothing friendly about the President’s XV match against reigning Vodacom Cup champions — the Steval Pumas — set for Hartsfield Grounds in Bulawayo on March 18.
Mandenge, who will steer the second string side, says the team is determined to put on a good show in preparation for the Africa Cup test against Kenya in July.
And the coach has moved to blow away any suggestions that game will be treated lightly.
“We are taking this game seriously because this is a chance to assess all the players. Unfortunately we are off season this side but if it could happen we would want to use more than 23 players on the day,” he said.
The coach has called up a mixture of experience, youth and fringe players in a side that includes Sables captain and prop Denford Mutamangira.
There is also a place for Russia-based Lawrence Cleminson, Spain-based front rower Jan Ferreira, and Germany-based Voight Wolfgang as well as half backs Charles Jiji and Kuziva Kazembe.
“It’s not every day you get to play an international friendly. We want them to get value and we also want to get value,” Mandenge said.
“Not that we are throwing away guys that are not in this team but the fact we haven’t started our league it is always going to be difficult.
“I’m looking to see which players who are not in the Sables set up that I have not worked with, assess them and take it from there.”
The Steval Pumas were crowned the Vodacom Cup champions in Cape Town last year.
The Lowvelders, coached by former Springbok Sevens player MJ Mentz, beat DHL Western Province in the final to become the eighth team to win this competition since its inception in 1998.
President’s XV Squad:
Forwards: Denford Mutamangira, Lucky Sithole (HSC), Brian Makamure, Tapfuma Parirenyatwa, Tatenda Murwira, Tawanda Chowe (OH), Lawrence Cleminson (Russia), Fortune Chipednu, Pieter Joubert (OGs), Wolfgang Voight (Germany), Jan Ferreira (Spain), Robert Pearson (Durban), Bisele Tshamala (Durban), Moses Gunda (England), Njabulo Ndlovu (UWC),
Backs: Charles Jiji, Taku Chieza, Tichafara Makwanya, Gerald Sibanda, Brian Matoramusha, Tangai Nemadire (OH), Kuziva Kazembe (Hamiltons), Boxter Hwata (HSC),Riaan o’Neill (Sharks Under21), Jeremy Mututu (Craberra), Gavin Nyahwata, Shayne Makombe (UKZN), Brandon Boshi, Lenience Tambwera, Stavo Hunduza, Boyd Rouse (OGs), Bastien Mendelsohn (Durban), Shingi Katsvere (Mbare Academy).