Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE senior national 15s rugby team coach Brendan Dawson believes Kenya will be excellent opponents in their Victoria Cup clash at Hartsfield this afternoon.
Addressing the media in Bulawayo yesterday, Dawson said Kenya are blessed with incredible expertise with ball in hand, and because of that, he feels the Sables have to be at their best.
“They are a top quality unit and we are obviously going to expect exactly what they come with every year; it’s a top quality rugby side. Kenyans play the same style of rugby, quick runners; they like to ship the ball wide and have some big boys who run in the middle with the ball,” said Dawson.
“They have unbelievable skills with the ball in hand, it’s going to be hard for us if we don’t contain that and deprive them of the ball.”
Skipper Hilton Mudariki believes that they can overcome the Kenyans if they stick to their game plan.
“We’ve really had a good week of training and we are going into this game wanting to win. For us, it’s just about the process, sticking to want we want to do, achieving our game plan and working towards that,” Mudariki said.
Paul Odera, the Kenyan coach, is expecting tough competition from Zimbabwe.
The Simbas’ mentor feels they have to deal with the dynamism the Sables possess.
“As usual Zimbabwe normally have very quick, agile backs, particularly their wings and fullback. From the matches we’ve watched this year, they are playing with a lot of width and quite a bit of pace, so it’s going to be a very tough game for us to be able to deal with how dynamic Zimbabwe are playing this year. We have done our work at training and I think the players have a good understanding of what it would take to be competitive tomorrow (today),” Odera said.
“There is no Test match that we get into to lose and we are going in with the sole focus, of course, of winning the game. My philosophy is that we take care of the little things then the scoreboard will take care of itself.”
Peter Kilonzo, the Kenyan skipper, declared that they were geared up for the clash with the Sables.
“The boys are all ready, they are psyched up and are ready for the challenge. We are here to play rugby,” he said.
The Kenyans suffered a blow ahead of the fixture with fullback Isaac Njoroge ruled out due to a head injury sustained last weekend against Zambia in Kitwe.
Tyran Fagan, Keith Murray, David Makanda, Godwin Mangenje, Godfrey Muzanargwo, Biselele Tshamala (vice-captain), Brian Nyaude, Njabulo Ndlovu, Hilton Mudariki (captain), Dudlee White-Sharpley, Matthew McNab, Ngoni Chibuwe, Shingirai Katsvere, Takudzwa Kumadiro, Martin Mangongo
Replacements: Matthew Mandioma, Tatenda Rwenyu, Royal Mwale, Blithe Mavesere, Aiden Burnett, Tarisai Mugariri, Kuziwakwashe Kazembe, Kudakwashe Chiwanza