Sables conclude SA tour

HARARE - The Zimbabwe national rugby team returned from Tshwane, South Africa where they had been for the past week preparing for the 2018 Rugby Afrique Gold Cup.

The Sables begin their Gold Cup campaign with a home encounter at Police Grounds on June 16 against North African side Morocco.

Zimbabwe needs to win the Gold Cup this year in order to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

After having finished in fifth place last year, the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) sacked Cyprian Mandenge with former Springboks coach Peter de Villiers being appointed in February this year to lead the Sables.

De Villiers first held a training camp with the squad at Falcon College in Esigodini last month.

With no warm-up matches lined up, the Sables took their preparations across the Limpopo where they checked in at the High Performance Centre (HPC).

Besides training at the immaculate facilities at the Tshwane-based institution, the Sables playing as the President’s XV also took part in training matches against the Blue Bulls Under-19 and the Blue Bulls.

Team manager Kisset Chiringinde spoke glowingly of the team’s stay in the South African capital.

“Falcon was a great camp for the team...this facility is amazing,” Chiringinde told Sables TV.

“The food is made for high performance and the boys are enjoying high quality meals; what an elite athlete should be taking.

“We have top-of-the-range gym facilities that the boys had access to. They also have access to work out in the pool and even where they are staying, the hotel; it’s an amazing facility where the players are comfortable and happy to be here.

“Even the fields are well-kept; it’s just a different environment to what they are used to and I think that will motivate them to do a little bit better.”

Chiringinde was also full of praise to the Sables’ new sponsors led by Zerttew Resources, Zimoco, and Titan Law for making the camp possible.

“This is an amazing thing that has been made possible by the sponsors; the various partners, the effective presidium and the new secretariat,” he said.

ZRU vice president Martin Shone, who also accompanied the team to South Africa said: “It’s been a wonderful journey from Falcon where I was with the team as well. What I have noticed with the players is the way they have grown in confidence.

“Even the structures, the way they have been playing have improved, the camps have really helped. For preparations sake, it could not have been any better here at the HPC. I have been chatting to the coach and he is impressed with what he has seen with the players; they are pumped up.

“The technical team has done wonders with the players and we are now looking forward to a great match when we play against Morocco.”

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