by WELLINGTON TONI
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE Sevens rugby coach, Gilbert Nyamutsamba relishes the chance to dance with the big rugby guns and believes the inaugural World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series in Chile this weekend provides such an opportunity to earn promotion.
Zimbabwe’s Cheetahs will join 15 other nations in the inaugural series – a second tier competition to the more world renowned HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, and the gaffer says the tourney has been long in the coming.
“We have been asking for this for some time, we lack game time compared to the big teams in the World Rugby Sevens Series and for us this presents an opportunity to earn promotion to the top tier.
“There is a huge gap between us and them (core teams) and with this kind of chance, I think everybody is ready for the challenge,” Nyamutsamba said in a brief interview ahead of departure for Chile on Tuesday.
Brazil, Chile, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Tonga, Uganda, Uruguay and Zimbabwe will be joined by three teams from the Americas -Mexico, Colombia and Paraguay in the 16-team tournament.
The first leg begins on Saturday, ending the following day, in Vina del Mar in Chile and the second leg will also run for two days in Montevideo, Uruguay on February 22-23.
Zimbabwe will be skippered by Hilton Mudariki in the absence of injured experienced trio of Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Blithe Masevere and Godfrey Muzanarwo.
Speaking to a local Zimbabwean weekly, Sunday Mail, last week, Mudariki said he was ready for the challenge and welcomed the introduction of the series.
“It’s a very welcome development especially for second tier teams like us. We rarely get adequate game time during the course of the year.
“The Olympics remain the main target and these two legs guarantee us at least two competitive tournaments. We will get three if we qualify for Hong Kong at the end of the tournament. All this will be vital preparations for the Repechage tournament later on this year,” the Cheetahs man reckoned.
- CAJ News