Chavhanga's high hopes for Sables

HARARE - Former Springboks wing Tonderai Chavhanga believes the Sables have a very good chance of making it to next year’s Rugby World Cup to be held in Japan.

Chavhanga is back in Zimbabwe and is set to take part in today’s exhibition game between the Zambezi Steelers and South African side the Blue Bulls at Harare Sports Club.

However, new Sables coach Peter de Villiers, who was appointed in February, is also using the opportunity to see the talent at his disposal ahead of the start of the 2018 Rugby Afrique Gold Cup competition in August.

The Gold Cup will act as the qualifying tournament for the 2019 Rugby World Cup with the Sables needing to finish in first place to secure a ticket to Japan.

With the coming in of de Villiers and a number of corporate sponsors like Titan Law and Zimoco to be the team’s sponsors, Chavhanga, who played four Tests for the Springboks, is convinced the team is heading in the right direction.

“First of all, I think with the new board that has come in and the Trust that have raised all this capital in order to try to uplift Zim rugby, it’s actually phenomenal,” Chavhanga told the Daily News.

“Obviously, appointing Peter (de Villiers) and now Stanley Raubenheimer and Kisset (Chirengende) being the team manager; he’s been instrumental in bringing some of the big games we have had.

“So it’s very positive; I was standing outside there and watching the players train; it’s just a positive vibe and everyone wants to be part of the team.

“Certainly there is going to be a lot of competition in every position so it’s very exciting and I’m happy Zim rugby is going towards the right path.”

Chavhanga, who honed his rugby skills at Prince Edward School in Harare before relocating to South Africa to further his career, added: “I have said this a few times; if we could miss out on qualification for the World Cup by just a few points without our foreign-based players coming, without the funding and without an international coach of Peter’s standard; we should make it now.

“The other teams are going to prepare but it is exciting now, we now have an all hands on deck approach and I’m confident we can make it to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.”

De Villiers on the other hand is also pleased with the passion and commitment he has seen from the players he is working with ahead of today’s game against the Blue Bulls.

“Our main focus is to be the number one rugby team in Africa. We cannot do it on our own as coaches but it’s the players that can do it,” the former Springboks coach said.

“Our self belief was a bit low but the body language of the players has completely changed; the passion is now there, we have been able to bring back that self belief into most of these players.

“I’m now very, very happy but that doesn’t mean we will win all our games; this game is a yardstick for most of us. We don’t know how we will fare but what we know is that the Blue Bulls are coming here with six months of preparation; they are more than ready.”

Zambezi Steelers: 15: Shingi Katsvere, 14: Takudzwa Kumadiro, 13: Kudzai Mashawi, 12: Brandon Mandivenga, 11: Zee Khupe, 10: Lenience Tambwera, 9: Hilton Mudariki, 8: Tapfuma Parirenyatwa, 7: Godfrey Mangenje, 6: Aiden Burnett, 5: Fortune Chipendu, 4: Johan Stander, 3: Clive Musasiwa, 2: David Makanda, 1: Denford Mutamangira    

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