HARARE – Tapiwa Mafura (pictured), fresh from winning South Africa’s iconic Currie Cup trophy at the weekend, starts for Zimbabwe at fullback in the Sables’ World Cup qualification tournament opener against the Ivory Coast in France on Friday.

26-year-old Mafura, who played on the wing for Pumas at the weekend, immediately flew to France for the World Cup qualifiers after helping the Mpumalanga side win its first Currie Cup title in history.

Mafura missed Zimbabwe’s 30-7 win over Netherlands in Amsterdam last week in a friendly international with Test status.

The match on Friday is a quarter-final tie.

Almost the entire Ivorian side play domestic rugby in France, and will prove quite a handful for Zimbabwe, according to the Sables coach Brendan Dawson.

“We all know that the whole team is French based and playing at the top level of French rugby,” Dawson said. “So its going to be a physical, hard and strong game but we are prepared for that. We’ve trained well for it this whole week, so we are very happy with where we are. We forward to it.”


Starting: 1 – Victor Mupunga 2 – Liam Larkan 3 – Bornwell Gwinji 4 – Sean Beevor 5 – Godfrey Muzanargwo 6 – Jason Fraser 7 – Godfrey Muzanargwo 8 – Nyasha Tarusenga 9 – Hilton Mudariki (captain) 10 – Marcus Nel 11 – Shingi Katsvere 12 – Takudzwa Chieza 13 – Matthew McNab 14 – Shayne Makombe 15 – Tapiwa Mafura.

Subs: 16 – Matthew Mandioma 17 – Tyran Fagan 18 – Cleopas Kundiona 19 – Godwin Mangenje 20 – Aiden Burnett 21 – Kyle Galloway 22 – James Forrester 23 – Ngoni Chibuwe.


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