‘Cheetahs to rebuild’

FOLLOWING the disappointing end to their IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens campaign in Russia, Cheetahs coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba faces a huge rebuilding mission as the national Sevens side looks ahead to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

DANIEL NHAKANISO

The Cheetahs, who won the third tier Bowl competition at the last edition of the World Cup in Dubai four years ago, struggled to stamp their authority this time around, managing just a single victory in four outings.

Having travelled to the tournament with six survivors from the 2009 World Cup squad, namely Jacques Leitao, Gardner Nechironga, Fortune Chipendo, Wesley Mbanje, Tangai Nemadire and Daniel Hondo, the Cheetahs had high hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the main cup competition.

However, that dream ended on the second day of the competition after they were soundly beaten by a well-drilled Kenyan side 31-5, for their second consecutive defeat in the pool stages after they had earlier lost 21-14 to Samoa on the opening day.

This saw the Cheetahs being relegated to the Plate competition where they also lost 26-17 at the quarter-final stage to Samoa to bow out of the competition.

The end of the Cheetahs campaign at the World Cup could signal a new era for the national Sevens team, as it prepares for new life without some of veteran players.

Asked prior to the World Cup if some of the senior players in the squad would be retiring from the national Sevens side after the World Cup, Nyamutsamba said: “No player has yet communicated anything to that effect at the moment, but we expect that one or two senior players might consider retiring after the World Cup.”

In an interview with Southern Eye Sport yesterday, head coach Nyamutsamba, without giving more details, confirmed that a rebuilding mission was on the cards.

“That’s the plan, but we will only give more details on the plans going forward.”

The seasoned mentor said although the team finished in a higher position than it did four years ago, he expected more from his side.

“Our points left us in the top 15 out of the 25 teams. We finished in 13th position which is an improvement from the 17th position at the last World Cup. Every positive counts, but I expected us to go a bit further up, but the draw for our first-ever Plate participation was a tough one.

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