Germany’s national rugby sevens team will add some international flavour to the second edition of the Zambezi Challenge which will be played at Harare Sports Club from next weekend.
The German team, known as the “Wolfpack,” will battle it out for the coveted title with hosts Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana-based side Spartans and other invited teams in the high-profile tournament.
Spartans, who are largely made up of Zimbabwean players based in Botswana are the defending champions after winning the inaugural edition of the competition early this year.
Their title defence is expected to face some stiff resistance from the Cheetahs, as the Zimbabwe side is affectionately known, who will be desperate to impress on home soil to make amends for a disappointing World Cup campaign.
Tournament debutants Germany are also expected to be among the title favourites after a relatively successful season in which they qualified for the World Cup in Cape Town.
Former Germany rugby international Clemens von Grumbkow, who is now the head coach of his country’s rugby sevens side said his team’s main objective is to win the Zambezi Challenge.
“Of course we’re going there to win the tournament, to continue to promote a winning mentality – but not at any price,” said Von Grumbkow in an interview with the Germany Rugby Union (Rugby Deutschland)’s official website.
“More importantly, we’re looking for a few young and new players who we hope can be an alternative for the top team,” he added.
The Germans have also cast their selection net wide ahead of the trip to Southern Africa by including three English players.
“We have been in contact with some of them for two years, but the coronavirus (pandemic) prevented us from using them earlier,” said von Grumbkow.
The trio includes playmaker Shawn Ingle, who plays semi-professionally in England while balancing with his studies at Cambridge University
He is joined by the McDonald brothers Michael and Cameron, who have already gained experience with the British Army on the international rugby sevens circuit.
Niklas Koch (SC Germania), Anton Gleitze, Philip Gleitze (Berliner RC), Ben Ellermann (FC St. Pauli), Hannes Adler (TSV Victoria Linden),Bennet Veil, Daniel Eneke (TSV Handschuhsheim)
Max Roddick (SC Neuenheim), Makonnen Amekuedi (SC Frankfurt 1880), Shawn Ingle (Cambridge University RUFC), Cameron McDonald, Michael McDonald (British Army)
Non-travelling Reserves: Phil Szczesny (Hannover 78), Tim Lichtenberg, Bastian van der Bosch, Wolfram Hacker, Benedikt Spieß (RG Heidelberg), Felix Hufnagel (SC Germania List), Benedikt Müssig (TSV Handschuhsheim)