De Villiers wants to win hearts

HARARE - Sables coach Peter de Villiers (PDV) is hoping to win the hearts of local rugby fans by striking the right chords in Zimbabwe’s opening Rugby Afrique Gold Cup encounter against Morocco at Harare Sports Club this Saturday.

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

A win over the North Africans will guarantee the team of the much-needed fans support PDV reckons but admits starting off their campaign at home has its own perils.

“It comes with a lot of pressure because as you walk around the field you will definitely hear how bad you are if things don’t go accordingly on the field,” De Villiers said.

“And the flip side is true too, so if we can kick-off our campaign on a high note and win over the supporters then I think the purpose of starting back home is actually much bigger than starting away.”

The former Springboks coach said the Sables have not been able to study any footage of their Saturday’s opponents leaving them with no idea of what to expect against the Moroccans.

“They are a mystery, a real mystery. We tried and tried just to get some footage of them (Morocco), nobody could help us with anything or any device so it left us with just one way of doing things. We want to be prepared for anything they can throw at us,” de Villiers added.

“If you look at the blend we have there’s lot of experience; guys who have been there forever then we have these youngsters too.

“Rugby will not stop after this year and we as the Zimbabwe team want to be one of the best in Africa.”

He said the journey into the Gold Cup comes with lots of excitement and anxiety at the same time given the fact that a lot of attention turns to the Sables following Zimbabwe Cricket’s failure to qualify for next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.

“I’m excited but very nervous. Nervous because I do know what the hope of the country is after we didn’t make it to the Cricket World Cup, I know that the focus has now shifted to us,” he said.

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