Sables in must-win encounter

HARARE - The Sables need at least a win in today’s 2018 Rugby Afrique Gold Cup clash against Kenya in Nairobi to keep their hopes of qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup alive.

The match kicks off at 2pm local time at the RFUEA Ground in Nairobi.

Following the demoralising 23-23 draw with Morocco earlier this month, Zimbabwe are now faced with four finals in their remaining matches in the competition starting with today’s encounter against the Simbas.

The Sables are in fourth place on the six-team log with just two points while Namibia sit top with 10 points following wins over Uganda and Tunisia.

Kenya beat Morocco 24-28 in Casablanca last week and are in second place with four points while Morocco are third with three points.

Uganda and Tunisia are in fifth and sixth place respectively as they are yet to get a single point on the board.

Sables coach Peter de Villiers was disappointed by the indiscipline from his side in the draw against Morocco as they conceded a number of penalties in and around the breakdown area.

The former Springboks coach has made two changes to his staring XV for today’s game which saw half back Ernest Mudzengerere coming in to replace Hilton Mudariki.

Mudzengerere was on the bench against the North Africans but this time gets to start since Mudariki stayed behind since he is the captain of the Zambezi Cheetahs side that has begun preparations for next month’s Rugby Sevens World Cup.

SWD Eagles lock Johannes Stander comes in to replace Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa, who has been relegated to the bench.

Stander will partner the veteran Old Georgians lock Fortune Chipendu in the Sables second row.

On the other hand, Kenya have made three changes to the side that started last weekend win over Morocco.

In the process, 23-year-old Malcolm Onsando will earn his first full Test debut for the Simbas having previously come off the bench on two occasions.

The lock featured from the bench in the 34-16 win over Uganda in Kampala earlier this year with his second cap coming last weekend against Morocco. Onsando will partner Andrew Chogo in the second row.

Openside flank Elkeans Musonye and regular flyhalf Isaac Adimo return to the starting line-up after missing out on last week’s trip to Casablanca.

Musonye replaces Philip Ikambili, who suffered a concussion last weekend, while Adimo comes into a new backline that sees Darwin Mukidza who covered the flyhalf’s position in his absence moved to inside centre in the absence of Leo Seje.

Edmund Anya has been handed his second start for the Simbas in place of Jacob Ojee who is uninvolved for this fixture.

There are also changes on the bench with loose forward Martin Owilah and fly half Xavier Bett take up the positions vacated by Erick Kerre and Mohammed Omollo.

Loose forward Dalmus Chituyi is also in line for his Test debut after being named as one of the match day replacements.

Sables XV: 15. Shingirai Katsvere, 14. Takudzwa Kumadiro, 13. Kudzai Mashawi, 12. Brandon Mandivenga, 11. Mathew McNab, 10. Lenience Tambwera, 9. Ernest Mudzengerere, 8. Tapfuma Parirenyatwa, 7. Connor Pritchard, 6. Takudzwa Mandiwanza, 5. Fortunate Chipendo, 4. Johannes Stander, 3. Farai Mudariki, 2. David Mukanda, 1. Denford Mutamangira

Replacements: 16. Mathew Mandioma, 17. Cleopas Kundiona, 18. Lawrence Cleminson, 19. Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa, 20. Brian Nyaude, 21. Jeremiah Jaravaza, 22. Ziyanda Khupe, 23. Dylan Baptista, 24. Tafadzwa Mhende, 25. Lucky Sithole.

Kenya XV: 15. Biko Adema, 14. Tony Onyango, 13. Peter Kilonzo, 12. Darwin Mukidza, 11. Edmund Anya, 10. Isaac Adimo, 9. Samson Onsumo, 8. Davis Chenge, 7. Elkeans Musonye, 6. George Nyabua, 5. Malcolm Onsando, 4. Andrew Chogo, 3. Joseph Odero, 2. Colman Were, 1. Patrick Ouko

Replacements: 16. Peter Karia, 17. Moses Amusala, 18. Curtis Likako, 19. Oliver Mang’eni, 20. Dumlas Chituyi, 21. Martin owilah, 22. Xavier Bett, 23. Maxwell Kang’eri.

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