Zimbabwe Goshawks will face another tough test of character when they take on high riding Eastern Province Elephants in their penultimate match in the 2022 Currie Cup First Division this weekend.
The match will be played at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday.
After going on a three-match winning streak midway through their maiden Currie Cup First Division campaign, the Goshawks are going through a rough patch following back-to-back heavy losses in their last two matches.
The Zimbabwean outfit’s bad spell started when they were blanked 48-0 against SWD Eagles in George on May 20 before following that up with 35-0 hiding against Leopards in Cape Town last weekend.
After failing to score in their last two matches, the Goshawks will be seeking to finally break the shackles against Eastern Province Elephants.
The Elephants currently lie second on the Currie Cup First Division log standings with 26 points from seven matches, while Zimbabwe Goshawks are eighth on the 10-team log with 12 points from the seven matches.
Sunday’s match against Eastern Province will be of huge significance for the Zimbabwe Goshawks players as it will give them a final opportunity to impress ahead of the final announcement of the 2023 Rugby World Cup Qualifiers next week.
The announcement of Zimbabwe’s squad for the 2022 Rugby Africa Cup will be held on June 10 at a gala event in Cape Town, South Africa.
After the final squad announcement, the selected players will have the final Currie Cup match against Valke and scheduled Test against Netherlands in Amsterdam on June 25 to finalise their preparations for the World Cup qualifiers in France.
While the main focus is already on next month’s qualifiers in Europe, the immediate task will be to ensure the Goshawks finish strongly in the Currie Cup.
Head coach Dawson has made 10 changes to the squad which faced Leopards last week as he continues to rotate his squad.
The Goshawks will have a new front row with tighthead prop Tyran Fagan partnering hooker Matthew Mandioma and loose head Gabriel Sipapate in the front row.
Lock Sean Beevor retains his place in the second row where he will partner Godfrey Muzanargwo, who will be making his first start in the Currie Cup.
The explosive number eight Nyasha Tarusenga will start ahead of vice-captain Aiden Burnett.
After being rested in the previous match skipper Hilton Mudariki returns to the starting lineup captain of Zimbabwe’s Africa Cup-winning Under-20s, Takudzwa Musungwini, continues to get the coach’s faith at flyhalf.
Utility back Matthew McNab reverts to his favoured wing position, replacing Shingirai Katsevere while Connor Kennedy reclaims his place at fullback.
Young Sables livewire wing Tavonga Ablant replaces Shayne Makombe at left wing.
Goshawks Matchday Squad
Starting line-up (1-15)- Tyran Fagan, Matthew Mandioma, Gabriel Sipapate, Sean Beevor, Godfrey Muzanargwo, Kelvin Kanenungo, Johan Du Preez, Nyasha Tarusenga, Hilton Mudariki, Takudzwa Musingwini, Matthew McNab, Taku Chieza, Marcus Nel, Tavonga Ablant, Conor Kennedy
Replacements: (16-23)- Liam Larkam, Victor Mupunga, Bornwell Gwinji, Godwin Mangenje, Aiden Burnett, Kyle Galloway, Brendon Marume, Biselele Tshamala