Don Makanyanga

Sports Reporter

SABLES coach, Piet Benade, is eager to get the Sables firing again but believes that can can only be possible if the country has a system that promotes junior development.

Benade has been in the job for a few weeks and has already begun a mission to popularise the game across the country in line with the thrust undertaken by Aaron Jani’s Zimbabwe Rugby Union.

A former Sable, Benade thinks schools’ rugby will be key in driving Zimbabwe’s revival bid and rekindling the days when the senior team featured at the World Cup.

“Having national players accessible to young boys and girls of Zimbabwe is important and we hope to do that with more coaching clinics around the country,” Benade said.

He was in Mutare where he met with key rugby stakeholders from Manicaland.

Benade, also wants to ensure that the Sables play more regularly than just an average of three Tests a year.

 “We need to have a nice national programme where local players have pathways to play for the Sables and for the Zimbabwean public to watch the Sables here in Zimbabwe.’’.

The Sables’ last home game was an Africa Cup game, which also served as a World Cup qualifier at Old Georgians, three years ago.

“Having three-year breaks between home matches is not ideal.”

Benade, however, reckons his new-look Sables are ready for the Zambia challenge and is expecting a bumper crowd at Prince Edward.

“We have worked hard at getting the boys in the gym and on the field training as well as getting some match fitness over the last month.

“Although it’s a pretty short preparation period, I think we will be well prepared and hopefully ready to put in a strong performance in front of our home crowd.”

He is also relishing the opportunity of watching some lively schools contests during the festival.

 “School festivals are always exciting.

“Rugby is an expensive sport and is not accessible to many schools.

“Having sponsors like the Mwana Group is laudable, they are covering these costs and providing opportunities for boys who otherwise would have no rugby.

“Boys can be scouted at these events and scholarship opportunities provided can literally change the lives of boys and entire families,” said Benade.

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