Zimbabwe rugby national team coach Brendon Dawson has named 8 debutants for the much-anticipated Test match against Zambia on 13 July at the Machinery exchange stadium.
Out of the 8 debutants, the most exciting prospect is loosehead Henri Boshoff who has a colourful junior rugby resume having played for the Pumas at Coca Cola Craven week under 13, 16 and 18s respectively.
Boshoff also played in the under 19 Currie Cup for Golden Lions before moving to the University of KwaZulu Natal where he teamed up with sables speedster Shayne Makombe in the varsity cup and lost in the final under the guidance of John Mitchell.
Zimbuzz Sports caught up with Henri Boshoff ahead of their Victoria cup opener: “It’s an Honour to finally earn my first cap for Zimbabwe if we are going to bring it home we got to bring our A game on Saturday, ” he said.
Utility back Brandon Mandivenga will captain the sables for the first time as they begin to build towards 2023 world cup.
Mandivenga will start in the number 10 jumper and will pair with Hilton Mudariki at halfback. This is a tried and tested combination which the technical team hopes it will work again come Saturday.
In midfield, it’s a totally new centre pairing where David Capsopoulos will start at outside-centre while his partner Ngoni Chibuwe will start at inside.
Capsopoulos is known as a no-nonsense centre who likes to put in big hits and has immaculate defensive skills.
Chibuwe is also highly rated in defence. This could be just what the sables needed given they have struggled in defence over the years.
In the back three, there is one debutant, left wing Martin Mangongo who is currently based in Poland playing for an outfit called Skra Warsaw.
Mangongo has blistering pace and fancy footwork. He will be an asset against Zambia if his teammates can create space for him to exploit. Takudzwa Kumadiro and Kudakwashe Chiwanza complete the trio.
This match is likely going to be won or lost up front if any team manages to dominate forwards battle will likely run away with it.
Whatever happens on Saturday it’s poised to be an intriguing counter.
Zimbabwe Starting XV
1-Henri Boshoff, 2-Keith Murray, 3-Tyran Fagan, 4-Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa, 5-Godwin Mangenje, 6-Blithe Mavesere, 7- Brian Nyaude, 8-Godfrey Muzanarwo*
Scrum-half 9-Hilton Mudariki (VC)
Backs: 10-Brendon Mandivenga (C), 11-Martin Mangongo*,12- Ngonidzashe Chibuwe, 13-Daniel Capsopoulos, 14-Takudzwa Kumadiro, 15-Kudakwashe Chiwanza
Replacements. 16-Matthew Mandioma, 17-Tatenda Rwenyu, 18-Royal Mwale, 19-Moses Gunda, 20 -George Saungweme, 21-Ernest Mudzengerere, 22-Jeremiah Jaravaza ,23-Takudzwa Chieza*
*All with the Denotes are Debutants
Head Coach Brendan Dawson
Assistant -Tonderai Chavhanga
Team Manager – Jason Maritz