HARARE – Former Zimbabwe Under-18 captain Stephen Bhasera has become the latest high profile player to drop out of the Junior Sables ahead of this month’s Junior World Rugby Trophy. BY FARAYI MACHAMIRE
The Golden Lions Under-19 forward joins UK’s Nottingham Academy’s centre Andy Musvaburi and scrumhalf Ngoni Zinyama, who have also excused themselves from the Zimbabwe Under-20 set up.
But that has not fazed Junior Sables’ team manager Shaun de Souza, who believes the absence of players plying their trade in foreign countries should spur those in camp to step up and be counted.
Zimbabwe is hoping to make a lasting impression at the eight-team tournament from April 15 to May 2 where the winner will walk away with the sole ticket to compete at next year’s World Rugby Under-20 Championship.
“We can’t really call it a blow,” de Souza told the Daily News yesterday. “It’s a battle for combinations and team togetherness. Sometimes it’s a blessing when these so-called players don’t turn up, because if they come a day before the tournament they will not be able to fit into the system. I think this is an opportunity for the rest of the team to step up.”
Sharks Under-19 prop Justin Mendlehson is still expected to join camp while Free State-based flank Daniel Nyamugama and Australia-based utility Tapiwa Mangwana have since joined camp.
“We are still waiting for confirmation for the Western Province duo of Angus Bruce and Timothy Zvoya,” de Souza said.
Zimbabwe will have to navigate past a tough group A consisting of Fiji, Samoa and Uruguay if they hope to gatecrash the championship party.
Group B consists of Hong Kong, Namibia, Spain and United States.
“The thing is we are in the pool of death Samoa and Fiji are a tall order,” de Souza said.
“It’s going to be about survival these guys are big in size they will be quick it’s a tall order but at least two wins will be good for us.”