England-based number eight Aiden Burnett will captain the Zimbabwe Goshawks during their Currie Cup First Division against Boland Cavaliers in Cape Town on Saturday with regular skipper Hilton Mudariki starting the match from the bench.
The 24-year-old loose forward, who plays for English third-tier side Bishop’s Stortford RFC, has been a regular member of the Zimbabwe setup since making his Sables debut two years ago in a Victoria Cup match against Uganda.
Burnett has retained his place in the starting line-up after putting on a good show during the Goshawks’ 22-21 victory over African rivals Kenya Simbas two weeks ago.
Zimbabwe have made six starting line-up and three positional changes for the match against Boland Cavaliers as they seek their second victory in the competition.
Losing their starting spots from last week – relegated to the bench or taken out of the match-day 23 altogether – are hooker Matthew Mandioma, lock Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa, flank Biselele Tshamala, captain Hilton Mudariki, flyhalf Riaan O’Neil and wing Russell Dinha.
Nyakufaringwa, who had established an exciting second-row combination with Andrew Evans suffered significant knee ligament damage and is facing a lengthy spell out of the game.
Johan Du Preez, who started at flank against Kenya has been, will now move to lock with University of Johannesburg captain Kelvin Kanenungo earning his first start for Zimbabwe at blindside flank.
Upfront hooker Declan Ralphs will be hoping to make a good impression after replacing Mandioma at hooker.
There’s also a place in the starting lineup for the Zimbabwe Under-20 exciting pair of wing Tavonga Ablant and fullback Brendon Marume as they continue to rise after the Under-20 Barthes Trophy triumph in Kenya.
Ablant replaces Dinha at right-wing while Marume’s inclusion at fullback means Kyle Galloway has been moved to scrumhalf while skipper Hilton Mudariki will start amongst the replacements.
Gifted Young Sables flyhalf Takudzwa Musingwini has also been named amongst the replacements in a clear sign of faith in youth by the Goshawks’ technical department.
The most notable inclusion amongst the replacements is that of the Hong Kong-based Zimbabwe rugby star Nyasha Tarusenga, who is set to make his first start for Zimbabwe at the senior level.
Tarusenga, twice a winner of the World University Rugby Cup with the University of Cape Town, is an explosive eighth man who makes a big impact on attack and defence and is a valuable addition to the Zimbabwe squad.
Goshawks’ matchday 23
Starting XV:1 Victor Mupunga, 2. Declan Ralphs, 3. Bornwell Gwinji Bornwell, 4. Johan Du Preez, 5. Andrew Evans, 6. Kelvin Kanenungo 7. Tonderai Chiwambutsa, 8. Aiden Burnett, 9. Kyle Galloway, 10, Boyd Rouse, 11. Ernest Mudzengerere, 12, Takudzwa Chieza, 13. Marcus Nel, 14. Tavonga Ablant, 15. Brendon Marume
Replacements: 16. Matthew Mandioma, 17. Doug Juszczyk, 18. Gabriel Sipapate, 19. Sean Beevor, 20. Nyasha Tarusenga21. Hilton Mudariki, 22. Takudzwa Musingwini, 23. Russell Dinha