HARARE – Shadreck Mandaza, the teenage ace who is also a gifted cricket player, has been selected into Zimbabwe’s national Sevens rugby team for the invitational section of the Emirates Dubai 7s Invitational in the UAE early next month.

The main Dubai tournament is the first leg of the popular HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, which is staged in different cities across the planet. Zimbabwe, known as Cheetahs, are not a core team of the World Series. So they will only play in the Dubai leg’s invitation matches, ahead of the series’ full 2022-23 season.

Mandaza was part of Zimbabwe’s Under-20 team that was crowned African champions in Kenya in April in the premier format of the game. The Dubai Sevens is his first senior call-up, 7s or 15s.

Churchill Boys High School maestro Mandaza is also an explosive batsman in cricket, and in September he was voted best batsman at the CABS St George’s College T20 Festival in Harare.

“He’s a brilliant cricketer, I’ve watched him play. He has a good eye for the ball, as much as he is a good rugby scrumhalf,” Zimbabwe Under-20 rugby coach Shaun De Souza told The NewsHawks in September.

“For me, I would actually say he should look at both options. He shouldn’t just jump into one basket, which is rugby. But ja, he can actually go to any code, he is that talented. I just think that he is a good cricketer, and if he puts as much time into it as he does in rugby, he can actually take his cricket to another level. But it’s up to him, whichever codes he decides. I think he is a hard worker and he can actually excel at either code. So ja, he is a brilliant laaitie, I like him.”

Meanwhile, as Zimbabwe continue to rebuild in the shorter format, not much is expected from Graham Kaulback’s experimental team in Dubai.

The Cheetahs coach has dropped eight players from August’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town, although Mandaza is the only newcomer to the set-up in the 12-man squad headed to Dubai.

Following the retirement of Cheetahs captain Kudzai Mashawi, Kaulback has appointed two captains for the Dubai trip – Taddy Dzandiwandira and Godfrey Magaramombe.

The Invitational part of the event will be between 1 and 3 December.  


Taddy Dzandiwandira (co-captain), Godfrey Magaramombe (co-captain), Emmanuel Zangari, Tapiwa Malenga, Kudakwashe Nyamakura, Alex Nyamunda, Carlos Matematema, Ryan Musumhi, Godknows Mavara, Shadreck Mandaza, Edward Sigauke, Takudzwa Kumadiro.


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