Junior Sables' dilemma

DURBAN -  There is no hiding that the current upheavals at home continue to have a seismic effect on every sector of Zimbabwe's way of life and sadly sport has not been spared.

But even then expectations are still high when ever any sporting code does battle for the country.

That is not different here in the port city of Durban where the Old Mutual Zimbabwe Under 18 are on display at the 53rd Coca Cola Craven Week, used by many as a springboard to launch their international careers.

The Stuart Dodington-captained side have got off to the best possible start, shrugging off the competition of Griquas Rural 9-16 in a thrilling encounter that brought to the foe the raw talent and determination that characterises most of the country's age-grade teams on Monday.

But without adequate structures to nurture junior rugby talent, no vibrant league or competitive national team to aspire for, it becomes beggars belief to think that any of the talent here will make it to the national team.

It is likely that the excessive number of scouts across South Africa and from Japan gracing this tournament will again make easy pickings of any potential stars lurking in the green and white hoops.

Expectedly the country's predicament leaves these teenagers with little option but to give it their all in search of professional contracts and university bursaries here.

Many will be lost to Zimbabwe rugby such as has become of towering lock Eli Synman , who was the 2014 Zimbabwe U18 vice captain and arguably the tallest  player at the 2014 Craven Week edition.

Synman was snapped up by Pretoria-based franchise Blue Bulls and has been an instant hit ever since.

The former St John's College pupil featured for the baby Boks in last month’s Under 20 World Rugby Championships in Manchester, England.

One wonders will the current and future crop of Zimbabwean players opt for the same route or put faith in Sables future.

Only time will tell.

Until then Zimbabwe avid rugby followers can only bask in the glory of the small gains made by these determined teenagers who continue to shine despite the many obstacles before them.

Today, the Junior Sables will hope to continue with their fine start when they take on Griquas in their second match of the here.

Coach Godwin “Jaws” Murambiwa has made eight mandatory changes to the side which did duty on Monday as stipulated by the Craven Week rules.

The Junior Sables will field a new front row with hooker Marcus Nichole, props Samuel Garnett and Simbarashe Maringa coming in.

Other changes in the forwards are flank Tonderai Chiwambutsa, lock Liam Burnett and scrum-half Jeremy Munyeza.

The only two changes in the backline are fullback Nqobisile Ncube and wing Rangarirai Mariwa.

Forward Desmond Annandale is not available for selection due to a concussion. 

Zimbabwe starting XV: 15.Nqobisile Ncube, 14.Tapiwa Marimira, 13. Peter Davis, 12.Matthew MacNab, 11.Rangarirai Mariwa, 10.Martin Mangongo, 9.Jeremy Munyeza, 8. Stuart Doddington, 7.Tonderai Chiwambutsa, 6. Tichaona Hwangwa, 5.Daniel Hutchings, 4.Liam Burnett, 3.Samuel Garnett, 2.Marcus Nichole, 1.Simbarashe Maringa.

Replacements: 16. Benjamin Meredith, 17. Cleopas Kundiona, 18. Tinashe Chaza, 19. Tendekai Chigwedere, 20. Connor MacMillan, 21 Rodney Sachiti

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