Zimbabwe Goshawks target Kenya Simbas scalp

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France-based prop Bornwell Gwinji (with ball) is one of the few experienced players included in the Zimbabwe Goshawks squad ahead of their Mzansi match against Kenya Simbas in Nairobi on Saturday

The Zimbabwe Goshawks will be seeking their first win in this year’s Currie Cup First Division when they tackle rivals Kenya Simbas in a potentially explosive encounter at the Nakuru Athletic Club (NAC) in Nairobi on Saturday.

Zimbabwe, who are competing in their second successive season in South Africa’s second tier domestic competition, which is now also known as the Mzansi Challenge, have kept faith in their largely developmental squad as they look to rebuild ahead of the 2027 Rugby World Cup qualifiers.

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Although the Zimbabwe Goshawks are yet to register a victory in the competition, their performances have won the hearts of local rugby fans

The Brendan Dawson-coached side’s campaign got off to a false start after they were forced to forfeit their first three away matches against South African sides Leopards (Saturday, March 25), Eastern Province (April 1) and Boland Cavaliers (April 8) due to financial constraints.

Zimbabwe Goshawks players pose for a group photo at the Robert Mugabe International Airport before their departure for Kenya on Thursday

They finally kick-started their campaign with a narrow 31-26 loss against Namibia’s Windhoek Draught Welwitschias at Harare Sports Club on April 15 before  putting on a good show despite their 31-25 loss against American outfit San Clemente Rhinos in Cape Town on April 29.

In their last match, the Goshawks put on another fighting display despite going down 57-48 against the Johannesburg-based Valke at Harare Sports Club.

Ahead of Saturday’s clash against Kenya, the Goshawks technical department have stuck to their guns by travelling with the largely developmental side.

Experienced scrumhalf Hilton Mudariki, who is also the skipper of the flagship side, the Sables, will lead the Goshawks against the Kenya Simbas.

Mudariki is one of the few regulars in the Sables side, who have made the trip to Nairobi alongside England-based number eight Aiden Burnett and France-based prop Bornwell Gwinji.

The Goshawks will need to be at their best against a strong Kenya Simbas side which has been based in Cape Town. The East Africans lost against table leaders EP Elephants 18-7, San Clemente Rhinos 33-22, Boland Cavaliers and defeated Border Bulldogs 30-26.

Simbas also forfeited their first two matches to Boland Kavaliers and Leopards.

The last time the two teams met in the Currie Cup First Division the Goshawks held on for a hard-fought 22-21 victory against the Kenya Simbas in Cape Town last year.

GOSHAWKS SQUAD

Starting XV: 1. Kevin Nqindi 2. Neil Mawere 3. Tawanda Mudyiwa 4. Patrick Macklin 5. Tadiwanashe Gwashu 6. Simba Sihara 7. Gideon Maseka 8. Aiden Burnett 9. Hilton Mudariki (captain) 10. Takudzwa Musingwini 11. Cletos Sunduza 12. Tamuka Pamire 13. Russell Dinha 14. Gamu Nekati 15. Taddy Dzandiwandira.

Substitutes: 15. Bornwell Gwinji 16. Vuyiswa Mpofu 18. Brian Makamure 19. Tapiwa Muberekwa 20. Joseph Chigwida 21. Pride Nyameni 22. Ben Pattenden 23. Maclean Muhambi 24. Aaron Juma.

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