BY DANIEL NHAKANISO IN CAPE TOWN
ZIMBABWE Academy has made six changes to the team to face Eastern Province as they seek a winning finish to their SuperSport Rugby Challenge campaign at the Village Rugby Club here today.
Head coach Brendan Dawson, who has continuously rotated his squad throughout the six week tour, experimenting with different combinations, has made another major backline shake-up for a match they are eager to win after crushing defeats in their last two matches against Cheetahs and Boland.
The Young Bucks, as the Zimbabwe Academy are affectionately known, have lost all their six games so far, despite putting some strong performances in the South Section of South Africa’s tier two competition.
Heading into the final game, Dawson has kept faith in the front row trio of losehead prop Tyran Fagan, hooker Matthew Mandioma and in-form tighthead Cleopas Kundiona, who will head to Sharks after today’s final game.
Towering lock Sanele Sibanda replaces George Saumgweme in the second row, where he partners stand-in captain Jan Ferreira, while Biselele Tshamala returns to the blindside flanker role, with Brian Nyaude retaining his place at open side flanker.
England-based ex-Zimbabwe youth international Aiden Burnett completes the loose trio at No.8 after coming in for Njabulo Ndlovu, who drops to the replacements.
Jeremiah Jaravaza, who has been a revelation during the tour, takes over at flyhalf ahead of injured captain Brendon Mandivenga, while vice-captain Hilton Mudariki starts at scrum-half.
Dawson also rotated his midfield, which means a first start this year for Daniel Capsopulous, who will form a new centre partnership with Mathew MacNab.
Western Province winger Sam Phiri, Old Georgians Takudzwa Kumadiro and fullback Kuda Chiwanza make up the back three.
Zimbabwe Academy Starting line-up: 15. Kuda Chiwanza 14. Takudzwa Kumadiro 13. Matthew McNab 12. Daniel Capsopulous 11. Sam Phiri 10. Jeremiah Jaravaza 9. Hilton Mudariki (Vice-Captain)
8. Aiden Burnett 7. Brian Nyaude 6. Biselele Tshamala 5. Sanele Sibanda 4. Jan Ferreira (Captain) 3. Cleopas Kundiona 2. Matthew Mandioma 1. Tyran Fagan.
Replacements: 16. Neil Mawere 17. Royal Mwale 18. Godfrey Muzanargwo, 19. Blithe Mavesere 20. Njabulo Ndlovu 21. Kuziwakwashe Kazembe 22. Takudzwa Chieza