HARARE – Seemingly unstoppable Zimbabwe have opted for the quicker scrumhalf qualities of Kholwani Moyo – among other tactical changes – as next up comes more formidable opposition in the form of Namibia later this afternoon.

Hosts Zimbabwe began defence of their Youth Africa Cup title with a relatively comfortable 46-21 win over Tunisia on Saturday, having been crowned the continent’s Under-20 rugby champions in style in Kenya over the past two years.

But long-time rivals and fellow Southern Africans Namibia are going into the match at Harare Sports Club like wounded lions following their narrow defeat to Kenya on Saturday, and will test the Junior Sables’ credentials for a third title in a row.

Unsurprisingly, Zimbabwe’s head coach Shaun De Souza has rung the chances to his side, with Moyo’s decision-making and game-management skills judged to be better suited for the scrumhalf role in a game of this magnitude against the technically sound Namibians.

Cody Grant, who started at scrumhalf for Zimbabwe against Tunisia on Saturday, has now been omitted from the match-day 23 altogether for the Namibia contest.

“Kholwani going in at 9 tomorrow is us just wanting to go with a bit of speed,” De Souza told SportsCast on the eve of the match.

“We will obviously give Wayne Kunaka (reserve scrumhalf) a bit of a run tomorrow and then see what options to go with against Kenya on Sunday. So ja, that’s the rotation we’ve gone with. We’ve put in a new midfield (of inside-centre Tanaka Mupamhadzi and outside-centre Vuyani Ncube), just to see how to spice up things for the opposition.”

Falcon College maestro Moyo – who has wowed crowds in schoolboy rugby with his impressive rugby IQ – started at flyhalf against the Tunisians before displaying his versatile talents when moving over to scrumhalf to replace schoolmate Grant.

Due to that adjustment in midfield, experienced Zimbabwe co-captain Benoni Nhekairo switches from fullback to flyhalf to form an exciting half-back partnership with Moyo.

The young Zimbabwean side will be instructed to give Moyo and Nhekairo the go-forward ball and get them to kick to the corners.

In other changes, Edward Sigauke transfers from outside-centre to take Nhekairo’s place in the number 15 jersey.  His partner from Saturday, Alex Kern, misses out of selection for the Namibia clash with his place at inside-centre taken by Tanaka Mupamhadzi.

Shammah Jackson is a direct replacement on the right wing for Brendon Jameson, who also falls out of the match-day squad, as does hooker Louange Mutimawurukundo. The Prince Edward front-rower makes way for St John’s College favourite Giordan Sarpo, who went in as the replacement hooker in the second half against the Tunisians.

De Souza explained some of the changes: “Louange and Kern is precautionary, they are carrying niggles, there was a lot of crass tackles against Tunisia that were not even cited,” he commented.

“But ja, its precautionary, we’re just monitoring them. They will be fine, we are just strategically giving them time out as we get them to 100 percent.

“Sigauke going to 15, Benoni going to 10, is all tactical.”

De Souza, meanwhile, had to leap to the defence of his team following an unsatisfactory execution of the line-out and scrum against Tunisia.

The former Zimbabwe senior team star back downplayed the Junior Sables’ frailties in the set-pieces, but he will be aware that a more clinical opponent like Namibia will take full advantage if the shortcomings are not addressed this afternoon.


Starting: 15. Edward Sigauke (cvc) 14. Shammah Jackson 13. Vuyani Ncube 12. Tanaka Mupamhadzi 11. Emmanuel Magutakuona 10. Benoni Nhekairo (cc) 9. Kholwani Moyo 8. Allan Mawunga (cvc) 7. Polite Phiri 6. Joseph Benning 5. Thabani Ndlovu 4. Tawananyasha Bwanya (cvc) 3. Takudzwa Matsvimbo 2. Giordan Sarpo 1. Emmanuel Gabi.

Replacements: 16. Tatenda Runyowa 17. Kudzai Tsvakirai 18. Huntsmann Greaves 19. Tafara Dewa 20. Samual Edwards 21. Wayne Kunaka 22. Tinotenda Rusike 23. Kaitano Tembo.

*cc – denotes co-captain and cvc – co-vice-captain


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