High expectations for new rugby coaches

The newly appointed coaches for national rugby sides are expected to deliver good results if they plan to stay on the job for the next four years.

The coaches who were appointed upon the expiration of their predecessors’ contracts are expected to successfully take their teams to various international tournaments.

Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) director of rugby Brighton Chivandire said they have set various targets for the new coaches with the main priority being the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“Specific targets have been set for the specific coaches for the various national teams.

“Obviously we are looking ahead to qualification for the Rugby World Cup in 2019 as our main goal,” said Chivandire.

“As we walk the path to 2019, there are going to be other regional and international tournaments and the head coaches are going to be responsible for those.”

The coaches have agreed to four year contracts which are renewed annually based on performance.

The new pool of coaches include Cyprain Mandenge who has taken over the Sables from Brendan Dawson and Danny Hondo who has taken  over the Cheetahs replacing Gilbert Nyamutsamba in the 7s team.

The national Under-20 set-up has seen Brendon Brider replacing Nsikelelo Sibanda, while George Mukorera and Abigail Kawonza were named the national women’s XVs and Sevens coaches respectively.

“There were obviously several candidates, some very competent coaches applied for these jobs and we are proud they stood out and were selected to be the national coaches,” Chivandire said.

Chivandire has led the national Under-20 side to qualification for the Junior World Rugby Trophy three times.

He said they were looking forward to returning to the prestigious tournament after having failed to qualify for the last two editions.

“For the Under-20s, as you are all aware, we have not qualified for the Junior World Rugby Trophy for the last two years and the new national Under-20 coach should make sure we qualify for that tournament,” said Chivandire.

He said he expects Hondo to lead the Cheetahs in successful World sevens Series circuit and Africa Cup.

“The Cheetahs have two main tournaments this year, the first one being the qualifiers for the (HSBC) World Sevens Series circuit and then, second, the Africa Cup Sevens in Kenya which acts as the qualifier for the Olympics.

“The Women Sevens team is going to an African qualifier in South Africa which acts as the qualifier for Rio 2016. Those are the key tournaments that we are looking at in 2015,” he said.

Meanwhile, freshly on the helm of the XVIs side Mandenge paid tribute to his predecessor Dawson for setting a solid foundation towards qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup to be held in Japan.

“Well, I must start by saying the foundation has already been made,” said the former Sables assistant.

“Looking at where Brendan Dawson started and where he left the team, I think he has left the team better.

“In as much as we are disappointed that we didn’t qualify for the World Cup, I think there were a lot of positives and we just need to eliminate the negatives and utilise the positives” he said.