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Sables to work on scrum

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ZIMBABWE rugby coach Brendan Dawson believes his side will benefit immensely from the input of former Springbok prop Balie Swart, who is expected to join the training camp today ahead of the Sables’ World Cup qualifiers in Madagascar at the end of the month.

DANIEL NHAKANISO
SPORTS REPORTER

The scrummaging expert is expected to work with the Sables pack of forwards to ensure their scrum is up to the challenge when they square off against Namibia, Kenya and the hosts.

Last week the Sables put a lot of emphasis on fitness, breakdown play and ruck techniques, but the coming in of Swart is expected to put their scrum on the spotlight. South African teams are renowned for their powerful scrums and the coming in of Swart, who won the 1995 World Cup with the Springboks, is expected to benefit the team in that department.

According to Dawson the arrival of Swart means they will delay the announcement of their 26-member final touring party. 

“We are not too sure yet when the final squad will be announced,” Dawson said after the team’s trial match on Friday evening. We have Balie Swart coming in on Monday (today) so probably on Monday evening or Tuesday we’ll have the final squad. Balie’s going to bring immense technical expertise which is going to help our preparations.”

Dawson was impressed with the fighting spirit shown by the players during the warm-up match played at Harare Sports Club on Friday evening.

“I think we have achieved what we had set out to do and we are happy with what we saw. I think the options were proved today,” he said.

Prior to the match some concern had been raised on the lack of options at the scrumhalf position and Dawson said he was happy with the perfomance of Hilton Mudariki and Guy Cronje in that position.

“We have two great scrumhalves and flyhalves. You saw Guy Cronje moving from flyhalf to scrumhalf and playing really well. So we have options,” he said.

“It’s going to be difficult to pick out players. You could see the quality that we have. So it’s up to us to make sure we pick the right guys.”

After the conclusion of the 10-day camp this week, the Sables leave for the 2015 Rugby World Cup qualification tournament in Antananarivo from June 28 to July 6.

Dawson’s men will open their campaign against the hosts on June 28 before playing Namibia on July 2 and then Kenya on July 6. Should the Sables come out tops in Madagascar they will qualify for their first Rugby World Cup since 1991 while a second-place finish will see them having another shot via a play-off against Russia in August.

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