Gert Smal as South Africa assistant coach between 2004 ND 2008.

HARARE – Former Springbok assistant coach Gert Smal, who helped South Africa win the 2007 World Cup under Jake White, has been assisting Zimbabwe’s national team as a consultant for Saturday’s international friendly with Zambia.

Smal was also on the Boks bench when they won the Tri-Nations in 2004. The South African also went on to become Ireland’s assistant coach after he left the Boks job alongside head coach White and the rest of their backroom staff.

62-year-old has been helping out new Zimbabwe coach Piet Benade and his assistants for the country’s first home match in over two years.

Legendary ex-Springboks prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, who has been visiting his native Zimbabwe over the past month, has also been contributing tactically to Benade’s side.

The match, at Prince Edward School in the capital city Harare, is 42-year-old Benade’s first in charge of his country as head coach following the former Western Province and Pumas flyhalf’s appointment in March.

The match doesn’t however have full international status, so the hosts will go by the name Zimbabwe ‘A’.

Veteran scrumhalf Hilton Mudariki has been retained as captain to lead a largely locally-based side blended with experience and youth.

Headlining the cast of newbies is the talented and explosive-outside centre Dion Khumalo, who was a star player in Zimbabwe’s Under-20 side that won back-to-back Youth African titles in Kenya in 2022 and 2023.

Interestingly, both Khumalo and the coach Benade will be making their different debuts on their old school ground, Prince Edward’s hallowed Jubilee Field, where they dazzled crowds as schoolboys in their separate eras.


Starting XV: 15. Teddy Dzandiwandira 14. Takudzwa Kumadiro 13. Dion Khumalo* `12. Kudzai Mashawi 11. Darrel Makwasha 10.  Keegan Joubert* 9. Hilton Mudariki (captain) 8. Aiden Burnett 7. Tonderai Chiwambutsa 6. Vuyani Dhlomo * 5. Brian Nyaude 4. David Makamba 3. Bornwell Gwinji 2. Liam Larkan 1. Zvikomborero Chimoto*

Replacements: 16. Tawanda Banda* 17. Jeff Makoni* 18. Brian Makamure 19. Patrick Macklin 20. Hilton Kamanda* 21. Vuyiswa Mpofu* 22. Tamuka Pamire* 23. Carlos Matematema*

*Denotes debut.  


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