‘Sables Ready To Face Morocco’
The Zimbabwe Sables are ready to face Morocco in their opening match of the Rugby Africa Gold Cup next month, according to coach Peter de Villiers.
Zimbabwe faces Morocco in Harare on June 16 in one of five matches they will play between June and August in their bid to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
De Villiers said while a lot of coaches need more time to prepare teams for such crucial battles, he had no choice but to declare his team ready since their first match is just weeks away. One area where De Villiers believes he has really worked hard on with his players is the psychological aspect of the game.
“No coach will ever be ready; coaches want more time, but I think we will be prepared. Mentally we will be ready, I worked hard on that side of the game. We will be up for the challenge come the 16th of June and from there we can only build where we want to be,” De Villiers said.
The Sables held a training camp at Falcon College from Friday up to Sunday.
De Villiers expressed his delight with the way things turned out at the camp as he achieved the level of concentration he was looking for from his players.
“I might be a bit over-enthusiastic at the moment, but I am very happy with what we have achieved in the last three days; the intensity of the camp, the way the guys turned opportunities that were granted to them into big occasions,” he said.
De Villiers described the time the players spent together in camp as priceless, with implementing what they learnt in the match against Morocco is what’s left.
“I am very happy, this is so valuable to us, you can’t turn the clock backwards. What we achieved is money in the bank at this moment; we must just go out now and use these kinds of opportunities when we get to our first game,” De Villiers said.
A total of 26 players attended the camp, just the squad size De Villiers wants to work with, as he sees no point in a huge number.
He believes that those that attended the camp can share their experiences with those that missed out.
“We have 26 players; you can’t have a camp with 40 players when you know 20 of them won’t play. You bring 20 players and give individual attention to all players. I am really happy, the 26 are now at a level where they will take the others with them when we drag them into camp again,” he reckoned.
Next up for the Sables is a camp in Johannesburg, South Africa, from May 20-31.
De Villiers is not concerned about who they are playing in South Africa, with his main focus being to implement what they want to achieve.
“We are going to South Africa on the 20th of this month for a camp in Johannesburg and I hope that we will put the finer touches on the players and on our play. What’s so great about this camp is that everybody now understands our structures; it took us a few months, but we are getting there,” he said.
Zimbabwe will take on Morocco, Kenya, Uganda, Tunisia and Namibia in their quest to make it for next year’s Rugby World Cup. Two of the matches are at home, with the rest away.