Mehluli Sibanda in Paarl, South Africa
THE Old Mutual Zimbabwe Under-18 face a defining moment at the Under-18 Coca-Cola Academy Week when they square off against old nemesis Namibia in their last match at the schoolboy rugby tournament at Paarl Gymnasium this afternoon.
The Junior Sables are unbeaten in the tournament, with wins over South African Learners with Special Education Needs and Blue Bulls Country Districts.
The are therefore fired up for the Namibians’ clash.
Namibia are also yet to taste defeat at the Academy Week and today’s encounter certainly promises fireworks.
After their impressive 44-19 win over Blue Bulls CD, coach Scott Gray said his players had made his job of selecting the starting 15 more difficult.
With all members of the 23-man squad having been given a full 70 minutes of rugby as per the tournament rules, Gray has chosen what he believes is his best starting 15 to face Namibia.
Skipper, Matthew Owuru, has been outstanding as shown by his two tries against Blue Bulls CD in addition to his try in their 29-27 victory over LSEN.
Owuru was named man of the match against Blue Bulls CD while loose forward David Bore was awarded the accolade in the clash with SA LSEN.
Wing Mufaro Chareka has been another outstanding performer for the Junior Sables at this tournament.
After two bruising encounters against South African opposition, there are players carrying injuries but indications are that all the youngsters are available for selection.
Zimbabwe lost 24-27 to the Namibian youngsters last year and they will want to revenge.
Whatever happens today, the Junior Sables have certainly not been a disappointment and will hold their heads up at the end of the tournament knowing that they did their country proud.
Brendon Sibanda, Mudiwa Makanza, Adrian Zivanai, Ryan Dawson, Dylan Utete, Alce Melo, Matthew Owuru (captain), Makanakaishe Timba, Joshua Allardice (vice-captain), Tinashe Hombiro, Pride Gadzikwa, Jeffrey Antonio-Samuels, Ryan Mutandwa, Nigel Tinarwo, Mufaro Chareka
Replacements: Anthony Mundangepfupfu, Declan Ralphs, Kudakwashe Mashonga, Clyde Muzengeza, David Bore, Michael Mhute, Victor Matarise, Brendan Muchopa.