De Souza happy with Junior Sables preps ahead of Barthes Trophy title defence

Junior Saables head coach Shaun de Souza watches his team in action during the Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup at Harare Sports Club on Saturday. CREDIT;: Grind Stone/Jeffrey Murimbechi

Zimbabwe Under-20 rugby team coach has applauded the team’s title sponsors Nedbank for their continued support for the team following a successful third edition of the Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup which ended at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.

The Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup, which was held over two matchdays, was won by Harare Sports Club for the second season running following a thrilling 16-13 win over their bitter rivals Old Hararians.

Pitbulls secured third position after 21-14 victory against the Nedbank Junior Sables side.

Harare Sports Club players celebrate after successfully defending their Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup trophy on their home turf on Saturday. CREDIT: Grind Stone/Jeffrey Murimbechi

The Junior Sables fielded two teams in the competition as they took the opportunity to fine-tune their preparations for the Rugby Africa Under-20 Barthes Trophy which will be played at Old Georgians Sports Club from April 18 to 29.

The Junior Sables fielded two teams with head coach De Souza announcing a 37-man provisional squad for the Barthes Trophy,  which will be trimmed to the final squad of 25 players ahead of the continental competition.

Zimbabwe is targeting a hat-trick of Barthes Trophy titles having won the last two editions of the competition which were hosted by Kenya.

Junior Sables players in action against Harare Sports Club. CREDIT: Grind Stone/Jeffrey Murimbechi

De Souza said the Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup has played a pivotal role in the Junior Sables’ dominance on the continent and this year’s edition was yet another success.

“The Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup was a success and a big thank you to Nedbank for making this possible and giving the opportunity for the Junior Sables to get the much needed preparation as it serves as our final trials,” said the Junior Sables head coach.

“Having two teams from the Junior Sables participating in this event  was definitely a plus. It gave us a bigger pool of players to look at. Going forward it’s something we need to keep doing. It has helped us achieve two Rugby Africa Under-20 Barthes Trophy titles and I think the process is working. We are excited and appreciate all the support from Nedbank,” he added.

The Junior Sables will open their Barthes Trophy campaign with a clash against Tunisia on April 20 at Old Georgians Sports Club before matches against Kenya and Namibia.

The winner of this year’s Barthes Trophy will then join Uruguay, the Netherlands and the United States of America or Canada in Pool B of the World Ruby Under-20 Trophy set for July 2-17 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Junior Sables Squad

Samuel Edwards, Louange Ujenza Mutimawurukundo, Emmanuel Gabi, Tawanyasha Bwanya, Thabani Ndlovu, Joseph Benning, Innocent Dekete, Allan Mawunga, Kholuwani Moyo, Tinotenda Rusike, Emmanuel Magutakuona, Alex Kern, Brendon Jameson, Shammah Jackson, Benoni Nhekairo, Tatenda Runyowa, Kudzai Waylen Tsvakirai, Huntsmann Greaves, Tadiwanashe Unganai, Wayne Kunaka, Tadiwa Maradze, Kaitano Tembo, Tadiwa Madya, Cody Grant, Tanaka Mupamhadzi, Tafara Dewa, Tatenda Mpagore, Owen Musumhi, Vuyani Ncube, Elias Chitengwa, Giordan Sarpo, Polite Phiri, Edward Sigauke (cvc), Joshua Bekker, Rogers Tayengwa Takudzwa Matsvimbo, Tadiwa Nyamukondiwa

Rugby Africa Under-20 Barthes Trophy Fixtures

Matchday 1 April 20

Kenya vs Tunisia 2pm
Zimbabwe vs Tunisia

Matchday 2 24 April

Kenya vs Tunisia 2pm
Zimbabwe vs Namibia 4pm

Matchday 3 Sunday 28 April

Namibia vs Tunisia 2pm
Zimbabwe vs Kenya 4pm



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