Zimbabwe will for the first time take part in the SuperSport Challenge represented by the Zimbabwe Rugby Academy. Matches commence on the 4th of May and the team goes into camp on the 23rd of April in Cape town.
Zimbabwe Rugby Academy has named Brendan Mandivenga as the team’s captain. Mandivenga has since High School been one of Zimbabwe’s gems as a prolific backline player at fly-half, centre and full-back.
The competition includes 14 South African Rugby Provincial teams as well as Namibia's Welwitschias and now the Zimbabwe Rugby Academy.
The Zimbabwe Academy side will be coached by former Sables captained Brendan Dawson, who will be assisted by ex-South Africa international Tonderai Chavhanga.
Speaking from the team’s camp base in Cape Town, Mandivenga says they are ready to take on the daunting task ahead.
“It is a massive honour for us to be playing in this competition, it is a great opportunity for us to showcase what Zimbabwe rugby is all about and we have an opportunity to put Zimbabwe back on the map. As a team we will make sure we will grab it with both hands and give it our everything.”
“We are not really looking at these opponents as our superiors rather we are looking at each team as the same as us – as a process as we are trying to build for the next world cup and it all starts in this competition.
“We are laying out our foundation for the next four years as our goal and we will take on each team as they come,” said Mandivenga
An additional fixture has been added to the team’s itinerary as the team is scheduled to face the Border Bulldogs on Sunday (28 April) in East London. The SuperSport Rugby Challenge kicks off on Friday (26 April)
The Zimbabwe Academy Squad
Aiden Burnett, Brandon Sweet, Wade Petzer, Biselele Tshamala, Brendon Mandivenga, Brian Nyaude, Cleopas Kundiona, Dunstin Andrews, Erbest Mudzengerere, George Sawezy, Godfrey Muzanarwo, Godwin Mangenje, Hilton Mudariki, Jan Ferreira, Jeremiah Jaravaza, Jordon Coombes, Keith Murray, Kudakwashe Chiwanza, Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa, Kuzi Kazembwe, Kudzai Mashawi, Mattew Mc Nab, Michael Botha, Neil Mawere, Njabulo Ndlovu, Riann O’Niel, Royal Mwale, Sanele Sibanda, Shingirai Katsvere, Tabonga Ngonyamo, Takudzwa Chieza, Takudzwa Kumadiro, Tatenda Mujawo, Tyron Fagan, Tinashe Chaza, Blithe Mavesere
Brendon Dawson, Tonderai Chavhanga, Jason Maritz, Simbarashe Dangah.
Border Bulldogs v Zimbabwe Academy East London
Zimbabwe Academy vs Sharks False Bay Rugby club, Cape Town
SWD Eagles vs Zimbabwe Academy Mossel Bay
WP vs Zimbabwe Academy TBC (Cape Town)
Zimbabwe Academy vs Cheetahs False Bay Rugby Club, Cape Town
Boland vs Zimbabwe Academy TBC (Wellington)
Zimbabwe vs EP False Bay Rugby Club, Cape Town
-Additional material from ZRU