ZIMBABWE received a welcome boast ahead of 2015 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in Madagascar later this month after South African Super Rugby side Golden Lions agreed to release fly-half Guy Cronje.
The 24-year-old Cronje is expected in the country tonight together with openside flank Lambert Groenewald. The two Lions are expected to join the rest of the squad in their 10th camp which started on Monday.
The Johannesburg-based franchise, however, refused to release Cronje’s twin brother Ross, who has made some cameo appearances in the Super Rugby campaign this season at scrum-half.
Head coach Brendan Dawson confirmed Cronje and Lambert’s imminent arrival during the team’s training session at St John’s College yesterday.
“The Lions are only releasing him (Guy Cronje) on the 18th so he’s flying in tomorrow night (today) him with (Lambert Groenewald,” Dawson said.
The 24-year-old Cronje twins together with Groenewald were born in South Africa, but trace their roots to Zimbabwe, which qualifies them to represent the Sables. Dawson said he was happy to have the players in camp and was impressed with their work ethic during yesterday’s training session.
“It’s really good to be back. The guys are looking really good, very sharp and really excited. The intensity was there at the training session today, so I was happy with that,” he said.
“It’s our first day really. Yesterday was reserved for a finest test and today is our first on the field contact work and I’m pretty happy with everyone’s concentration which I thought was exceptional.”
Dawson said a lot of emphasis will be placed on different aspects of play before heading to Madagascar.
“We will be putting more emphasis on our structured roles with the lineouts, backline play and rucking,” he said.
“Rucking is an important part of the game. We gonna (sic) make sure we win the breakdowns which is really important at this level.”
Dawson’s only concern was loose forward Andrew Rose, who sat out yesterday’s training session due to calf injury although he remained confident he would recover before departure for Madagascar.
“It’s a major one, obviously every player is a key guy for us to win this tournament, but I’m sure he will be alright. He will come right,” he said.