HARARE – Piet Benade, the former Western Province fly-half, has been named new national team coach of his native Zimbabwe on interim basis.

42-year-old Benade is best remembered back home in Zimbabwe as a magnificent playmaker for Harare’s Prince Edward Boys High School around the turn of the millennium.

In international rugby, Benade earned just a handful of caps for his country, as first-class rugby in South Africa took centre stage at the peak of his career.

Piet Benade in his pomp at Western Province.

After his playing days were over Benade cut his coaching teeth in the Cape Town area, notably with Rondebosch Boys High School and at the False Bay club.

On his return home, Benade has been an assistant coach under outgoing Zimbabwe head coach Brendan Dawson.  He has also coached local club giants Old Hararians.

Benade was a mesmerising player for Harare’s Prince Edward School.

It is not clear how long Benade’s interim appointment will be, but it could well extend to July’s crucial Africa Cup tournament in Uganda.

The tournament will serve as the first phase of Africa’s qualifiers for the next Rugby World Cup in Australia in 2027.

It will be an enormous task for Zimbabwe, because only the top four out of the eight countries in this year’s Africa Cup will proceed to the final phase of World Cup qualifiers next year.

The other six teams heading to Uganda are Namibia, Kenya, Madagascar, Zambia, Tunisia and Algeria.

Benade is likely to take charge of the Sables for the first time during a proposed match against Zambia on the last day of a new schoolboy tournament in Harare in April. The two countries are reportedly seeking Test status for the match.


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