ZIMBABWE’S Under-20 rugby team will be looking to revive their fading hopes of a memorable World Rugby Under-20 Trophy campaign on home soil when they face Uruguay in a must-win encounter at Harare Sports Club this afternoon.
BY KENNEDY NYAVAYA
The Old Mutual-sponsored Junior Sables side got their campaign off to a losing start after going down 24-54 to a physically superior Samoan side at the same venue on Tuesday.
The loss left Zimbabwe without a point and bottom of the group-of-death behind Samoa, Fiji (both on five points) and today’s opponents Uruguay, who picked up two points albeit in a losing cause in their first match.
Having struggled in almost all aspects of the game against Samoa, the Old Mutual Junior Sables desperately need to put a few screws on their fragmented play if they are to emerge victors in today’s make-or-break encounter.
Being a relatively smaller side compared to their opponents, Zimbabwe will look to take advantage of their pacy backline players to create holes in the opposition’s defence and gain ground whenever they can.
Contesting for the ball in scrums and rucks may prove too hard for them especially if the ball is for the opposite team so they may consider not getting too, sucked in but rather press as unit when defending.
Zimbabwe will also look to improve their tackling going into today’s match to avoid another disappointment from the Uruguayans, who are as eager for a win after losing their first game against Fiji.
In a bid to strengthen the side, the Young Sables technical department has made five changes to the side from the one which lost to Samoa.
Old Mutual Junior Sables head coach Brendon Brider has gone for a new halfback pairing, opting for Takudzwa Gamanya at scrumhalf ahead of Ernest Mudzengerere who drops to the bench.
Shingi Katsvere, who started at fullback, has been handed the number 10 shirt while Kudzaishe Munangi moves from centre to wing.
Exciting centre Mudiwa Manhombo will also make his first start of the tournament while United Kingdom-based Rodrick Mubaiwa comes in at loose head prop ahead of Jeff Makoni.
Zimbabwe ctarting line-up: (1-15) R Mubayiwa, T Musasanura, J Mendehlson, T Muchena, K Ndoro, T Mangwana, C Pritchard (captain), A Burnett, T Gamanya, S Katsvere, K Munangi, A Bruce, M Manhombo, S Phiri, T Mapfumo