HARARE – Former Australia Under-20 half-back Ian Prior will join Zimbabwe on Saturday ahead of the Africa Cup later in July, on course to finally make his senior international rugby debut.

33-year-old Prior was born in Queensland, Australia, but his mother comes from Zimbabwe.

The former Western Force captain – a regular scrumhalf who is also comfortable at fly-half – left the Perth side at the end of the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season.

Western Force paid tribute to Prior:

“The Club has made the difficult decision to not renew the 33-year-old’s contract, with Prior saluted in front of fans following the Force’s final home game of the 2024 season against the ACT Brumbies on Saturday night.

“Prior will go down in Club history as one of only three players to reach 100 Force caps. The scrum-half was also the Club captain for the Force’s 2019 National Rugby Championship title as well as the Force’s emotional return to Super Rugby in 2020 after being cut in 2017.”

Now, in the twilight of his career, Prior will bow out with Test caps under his belt, and possibly help the Zimbabweans qualify for their first World Cup since 1991.

The Sables are building a competitive side in a bid to seal a berth at the 2027 World Cup in Prior’s country of birth, Australia.

For now, they need to at least stay in the top four of this year’s Africa Cup in Kampala from 18 to 28 July.

Former Springboks assistant coach Gert Smal, meanwhile, will join the Zimbabwe side as a consultant under the youthful head coach Piet Benade.


Forwards: Aiden Burnett (vice-captain), Tino Mavesere, Bornwell Gwinji, Brian Makamure, Brian Nyaude, Bryan Chiang, Cleopas Kundiona, David Makamba, Dylan Utete, Hilton Kamanda, Huntley Masterson, Jeff Makoni, Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa, Liam Larkan, Neil Mawere, Sean Beevor, Simba Mandioma, Simba Siraha, Tadiwa Gwashu, Tanaka Mpofu, Tapiwa Tsomondo, Tawanda Banda, Victor Mupunga, Vuyani Dhlomo, Zvikomborero Chimoto.

Backs: Hilton Mudariki (captain), Benoni Nhekairo, Brandon Mudzekenyedzi, Carlos Matematema, Darrell Makwasha, Dion Khumalo, Gamuchirai Nekati, Godfrey Magaramombe, Ian Prior, Keegan Joubert, Kudzi Mashawi (co-captain), Munyaradzi Ngandu, Taddy Dzandiwandira, Takudzwa Kumadiro, Takudzwa Musingwini, Tamuka Pamire, Tapiwa Mafura, TJ Maguranyanga, Trevor Gurwe.


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