Sables sweat over Mudaraki, Nyawata

HARARE - Zimbabwe Sables, smarting form a 22-41 defeat against Kenya on Saturday will miss the services of flankers Connor Pritchard and Andrew Rose for this weekend encounter against Tunisia at Prince Edward School in Harare.

Both players are returning to their bases with Pritchard going back to school in Australia while Rose who was injured on the eve of the defeat to the Simbas and missed the tie returned back to his base in the United States.

Apart from these two foreign-based players, the team is also sweating over the availability of scrumhalf Hilton Mudariki and centre Gavin Nyawata who are carrying wrist and hamstring injuries respectively.

Sables remained in camp immediately after the loss against Kenya and need to quickly get over the disappointment and put their Africa Gold Cup back on track.

A victory against Tunisia puts them in a better position to avoid demotion from the topflight Group 1A at the end of the campaign where the bottom-placed team in the six-team league will go down.

“Every game is difficult but we play to win every encounter that we compete. We have got a plan for Tunisia and we hope it will come right on the day,” Mandenge told the Daily News yesterday.

“Ideally you would want all your players to be available for selection, we will see how it goes with Hilton and Gavin but the good thing is that we registered 40 players for the Africa Cup, everyone is pushing hard to be selected in training and I’m sure whoever takes to the field on Saturday would be good enough to provide the cover for those absent.”

The team is having two training sessions daily at Prince Edward; the first one starts at 6:30 in the morning and the 4pm practice.

“It was just a lapse of concentration in the last 15 minutes of the game where we conceded three tries which I felt should have never been the case. The Kenyans were a bit more physical, they are sprinters and they enjoyed the running game,” Mandenge said of the defeat against Kenya.

“It’s just a matter of doing the right thing and sticking to the game plan on the field.

“There’s no need to panic at the moment, we need to beat Tunisia on Saturday then we can start planning about the last game away to Uganda.”

Mandenge also paid tribute to his captain Denford Mutamangira’s selfless dedication towards the team where he played in the discomfort of his injury in which he was given three weeks out.

“Words only will never be enough to describe the passion and dedication he has towards Zimbabwean rugby.

“He had a good game and still showed no signs of struggling with the injury and as we speak he’s good to go for the game against Tunisia,” added Mandenge.


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