Zimbabwe Cheetahs undaunted by opening Wales clash at RWC Sevens

Sport360 staff 17:12 20/07/2018
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Cheetahs forwards (L to R) Boyd Rouse, Connor Pritchard and Shayne Makombe

The 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens kicks off on around midnight on Friday (UAE time) at AT&T Park in San Francisco and Zimbabwe is geared up to turn the tables.

The Cheetahs are the continent’s fourth representative at the competition along with Kenya, South Africa and Uganda.

Undaunted by their first fixture against Wales, the Cheetahs will be fielding two captains, Stephan Hunduza and Boyd Rouse.

“We’re not worried about Wales,” said Hunduza.

“As Zimbabweans, we have speed. Our pressure has been on perfecting the skills we’ve been working on whilst utilising our speed.”

Rouse added, “Going into this World Cup, we’ve got a good combination of speed, skill and physicality- when needed against certain opposition.”

Zimbabwe's Shayne Makombe who was crowned Player of The Tournament at the Rome Sevens

Zimbabwe’s Shayne Makombe who was crowned Player of The Tournament at the Rome Sevens

Zimbabwe will be fielding a younger team which will be looking to make early scores in the first two to three minutes of each fixture.

The selection of younger players is born out of a need to establish continuity by developing younger players able to commit more time thereby contributing to the team’s competitive advantage.

“We attended the Rome Sevens three weeks ago which helped our young players prepare for what’s coming ahead,” said Zimbabwe sevens head coach, Gilbert Nyamutsamba.

“They managed to play at an international tournament, rubbing shoulders with great players and I’m happy that most of our players stood out.”

Indeed Zimbabwe’s Shayne Makombe was crowned Player of The Tournament, as the team finished second.

“My work now is to keep the players grounded,” continued Nyamutsamba.

“Yes, it’s a World Cup where you’re representing your country, – a dream come true for most of these young men but, at the same time, it’s still a rugby game and we need to approach it as such.”

The Zimbabwe Cheetahs squad for the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens is: Boyd Rouse, Connor Pritchard, Nelson Madida, Kudakwashe Chiwanza, Ngoni Chibuwe, Shayne Makombe, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Biselele Tshamala, Shingirai Hlanguyo, Tarisai Mugariri, Stephan Hunduza and Riaan O’Niell.

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