De Villiers names five debutants

HARARE - Sables coach Peter de Villiers has included five debutants in the team to face Morocco in the first game of the 2018 Rugby Afrique Gold Cup at Harare Sports Club Saturday.

De Villiers, who will also be taking charge of his first Test since his appointment in February this year, included the uncapped quartet of Shingi Katsvere, Berndon Mandivenga, Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa and Matthew McNab in the starting line-up.

Another uncapped player Dylan Baptista, who plays for Southampton RFC in the United Kingdom, has been named on the bench.

The versatile Old Georgians backline player Katsvere will start his first international for the senior team at full back.

Mandivenga from Durban Collegians will start at inside centre in a midfield combination with Kudzai Mashawi.

McNab, who is now at Hartpury College in the United Kingdom, will start at wing to complete the debutants in the back line.

Mat Warriors lock Nyakufaringwa will be next to the experienced Fortune Chipendu in the Sables’ second row.

The Sables need to win the Gold Cup this year in order to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Although he is pleased with the way he has prepared his team for tomorrow’s match, De Villiers is still a little bit concerned that he has little knowledge of the North Africans.

“It was difficult to leave out four players from the match-day 23; the players were all capable and it took some soul searching and some hard work to go out and find out what Morocco can offer,” de Villiers said at yesterday team announcement.

Sables Starting XV: 15. Shingi Katsvere, 14. Takudzwa Kumadiro, 13. Kudzai Mashawi, 12.Brendon Mandivenga, 11. Matthew McNab, 10. Lenience Tambwera, 9. Hilton Mudariki, 8. Tapfuma Parirenyatwa, 7. Connor Pritchard, 6. Takudzwa Mandiwanza, 5. Fortune Chipendu, 4. Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa, 3. Farai Mudariki, 2. David Makanda, Denford Mutamangira

Replacements: 16. Mathew Mandioma, 17. Gabriel Sipapate, 18. Lawrence Cleminson, 19. Brian Nyaude, 20. Njabulo Ndlovu, 21. Peter du Toit, 22. Ngoni Chibuwe, 23. Dylan Baptista