By Lawrence Trusida, Sports Editor
SABLES coach Brendan Taylor has defended his selections after an uproar from the rugby community over the national team that was selected to represent the country at the Africa Cup in France next month.
After a three month long camp and subsequent participation in the Currie Cup in South Africa, the Sables technical team named the players that will represent the country at the world cup qualifiers.
With some targeted players declining the call up, injuries to key players has also affected the planning of the team.
Seven players are out due to injuries, in tight head props Farai Mudariki and Micheal Kumbirai, locks Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa and Andrew Evans, loose forward Blithe Mavesere as well as utility backs Brendon Mudzekenyedzi and Tavonga Ablant.
The coach clarified the status of some of the European based stars who were omitted from the squad.
“It’s been tough coming up with the squad. Apart from the key players with injuries, we have some who chose to go a different route – Ian Prior, Jason Robertson, Mungo Mason, Eli Synman, Kyle Godwin all had a different route they wanted to go with their rugby which wasn’t the Sables route, so we have had to make do with what we got and I believe we are ready and I believe the guys will do a job for us,” said Dawson.
The Zimbabwe Rugby Union is happy the 12-week camp in South Africa has given the technical team enough preparatory ground.
“We are happy the Currie Cup has given the technical team enough time and leeway to prepare for the World Cup Qualifiers. We believe they had a good look at the players they would want to use and we are hopeful they will do well at the Africa Cup,” Aaron Jani, Zimbabwe Rugby Union president said.
The Sables squad is headlined by Hongkong-based star Nyasha Tarusenga and France-based Jason Fraiser who will be looking to make their debut for the country, while there is also room for Takudzwa Musingwini and Brendon Marume, two youngsters who excelled at the Barthes U20 trophy.
Flanker Biselele Tshamala is the most experienced player with 47 caps, while Captain Hilton Mudariki has 30 Caps to his name in a team that also sees the return of Ngoni Chibuwe and Gabriel Sipapate.
Meanwhile, the Sables are set to play a preparatory test match against Netherlands on the 25th of this month before they proceed to France for the tournament that starts on the first of July.