Currie Cup winner Mafura drafted in Cheetahs squad ahead of Africa Men’s Sevens


Currie Cup winning utility back Tapiwa Mafura has been included in the Zimbabwe sevens rugby side ahead of the 2023 Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens Cup at Harare Sports Club this weekend.

Zimbabwe will host 12 of Africa’s leading teams including powerhouses South Africa and Kenya in the prestigious competition which will double as the qualifying tournament for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

The hosts, whose sevens side is populary known as the Cheetahs, are set to announce a very strong squad which is headlined by the highly gifted Mafura, who is fresh from a very successful season in South Africa.

The 26-year-old Zimbabwe rugby international, who joined the rest of the squas on Monday made history in June by joining an exclusive list of players to have won back to back Currie Cup winners medals with different clubs.

Tapiwa Mafura in action for the Sables against Ivory Coast during the Rugby Africa Cup in France last year

Mafura played an important role in the Free State Cheetahs’ successful campaign which culminated in 25-17 home win over Pumas in the final.

In the previous season he had won the Currie Cup title with the Pumas before retracting his roots back to the Free State Cheetahs towards the end of the 2022 season.

The lightning-quick utility back was part of the Free State Cheetahs squad in 2019 when they won the Currie Cup but was not in action for them in the semi-finals or the final.

Mafura is expected to add some needed experience and quality to the Cheetahs squad as they seek to win Africa’s sole automatic ticket to the Olympics on home soil.

Waikato’s Brandon Mudzekenyedzi celebrates during the TECT National Sevens Mens Cup match between Waikato and Auckland at Tauranga Domain on December 15, 2019 in Tauranga, New Zealand. (Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

The South Africa-based star is one of the several high profile players who have been roped into the Cheetahs squad ahead of the continental tournament.

Other high profile inclusions include New Zealand-based star Brendon Mudzekenyedzi, who has previously represented Waikato Chiefs, Sables captain Hilton Mudariki and rising star University of Johannesburg captain Kevlin Kanenungo.

France-based Riaan O’Neil has also bounced back after a lengthy absence from the side, while Shingirai Katsvere was also part of the squad which has been preparing for the competition but his participation is now doubtful after suffering an injury last week.

Zimbabwe, whose 12-man squad will be named on Thursday, will begin their Africa Men’s Sevens campaign in Group C alongside Uganda, Burkina Faso and Algeria



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