Junior Sables hope for Samoa upset

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Under-20 rugby team open their Junior World Rugby Trophy campaign with a tough clash against Samoa at Harare Sports Club this afternoon.

The Junior Sables, who entered the development tournament through automatic qualification as hosts, are naturally the tournament’s dark horse, but will have to fight like a cornered bull if they are to give their success starved home fans something cheer.

Team manager Shaun De Souza is anticipating a bruising encounter and is confident the side is ready mentally and physically.

“The boys are positive, in good spirits. I think the team has gelled well. It’s going to be about survival, these guys are big in size they will be quick. It’s a tall order,” de Souza said.

Open expansive rugby is what Zimbabwe is hoping to bring to the table against a side renowned for its physique, good ball carriers and attack mindedness.

Samoa are however, eager to earn promotion back among youth rugby’s elite nations at Under 20 level, hoping to use Zimbabwe as a stepping stone to send a loud signal of their intentions.

After the Pacific Islanders, Zimbabwe who are in a tough group A, will have to navigate past Fiji and Uruguay to keep their hopes alive of gatecrashing the championship part.

This afternoon they will have to avoid being sucked into the physical battle up front and play to their strength, relying on their quick backline to provide the cutting edge.

Every player will have to punch above his weight, much of the spotlight will be on half back Ernest Mudzengere.

If he can coordinate well with fly half Tadiwa Gochera in dictating proceedings the hosts will be in with a shout for victory.

Whichever way the wind will blow, it promises to be an intense 12 days of rugby, with a place at the World Rugby U20 Championship 2017 in Georgia awaiting the winner.

Young Sables Squad: Jeff Makoni, Tinotenda Musasanura, Justin Mendelson, Martin Shioma, Kudakwashe Ndoro, Tapiwa Gochera,  Connor Pritchard (Captain), Aiden Burnett, Ernest Mudzengerere, Tadiwa Gochera, Tatenda Matoramusha, Angus Bruce, Kudzaishe Munangi, Sam Phiri, Shingi Katsvere, Lebogang Ngwenya, Rodrick Mubayiwa, Tatenda Zhoya, Daniel Nyamugama, Takudzwa Gamanya, Mudiwa Manhombo, Tarisai Mapfumo.

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