Brendan Dawson has survived his performance review and will coach the Sables until at least October, next year, despite failing to guide the country to its first World Cup since 1991.
Ending months of uncertainty since the country’s failure to qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup in July, Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) have backed Dawson to stay on in the job.
Dawson, who has a running contract with ZRU until October next year had expressed his desire to continue as head coach despite pressure from some sections within the local rugby community to step down in the wake of the team’s disappointing 2022 Rugby Africa Cup campaign.
The 55-year-old rugby tactician has however received backing from ZRU’s technical committee and the executive committee which recommended to the board that he should continue as head coach until his contract lapses.
ZRU announced the decision to keep Dawson in a short statement.
“A technical review was held with Mr Brendan Dawson on the 3rd of August 2022 following the end of the 2023 RWC campaign,” it read.
“Recommendations from the technical committee and EXCO (executive committee) are that Mr Dawson’s services shall be retained until his contract lapses in October 2023.”
ZRU boss Aaron Jani added that Dawson would lead the Zimbabwe Goshawks in the new Currie Cup campaign early next year.
“Basically, we have a contract that ends next year in tandem with the World Cup cycle then we can review the way forward, so coach Brendan Dawson will continue in his role. The focus now is on the Currie Cup, where we will be competing again next season,” Jani said.
Dawson – who featured in the 1991 tournament and later captained the country – is in his second tenure as Sables coach, after coming agonisingly close to leading the flagship rugby team to qualification for the 2015 World Cup in England.
The just-ended qualification campaign however did not go according to the script, as the Sables, who had shown so much promise in the lead-up to the final qualifier in France crumbled under the weight of expectations.
The Sables started their campaign at the 2022 Africa Cup, which was used as a qualifier for the 2023 World Cup finals with a hard-fought 38-11 win over the Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals but their hopes were dashed in the semis where they lost 34-19.
It went from bad to worse for the Sables as they lost 20-12 to minnows Algeria in the third-place playoff to cap off a forgettable qualification campaign.