ZIMBABWE have made five starting line-up and three positional changes for Saturday’s second Currie Cup match against Griffons in Welkom, following last week’s opening heavy 34-10 defeat to European side Georgia.
Such extensive changes will be a feature of the Zimbabwean side in their eight matches in the Currie Cup’s second-tier competition, as coach Brendan Dawson continues to tinker with different combinations in pursuit of the right mix for July’s World Cup qualifiers in France.
Losing their starting spots from last week – relegated to the bench or taken out of the match-day 23 altogether – are hooker Matthew Mandioma, lock Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa, flank Biselele Tshamala, eighthman Aiden Burnett and wing Munashe Chaitezwi.
Mandioma, Tshamala and Burnett have been rested while Nyakufaringwa and Chaitezwi drop to the bench this week for a Zimbabwean side playing in the tournament as Goshawks.
The five replacements are hooker Aaron Juma, lock Godwin Mangenje, flankers Dylan Utete and Johan Du Preez alongside inside centre Brendon Curle.
Harare-born Du Preez was schooled in Pretoria, turned out for Blue Bulls Under-18 and now plays club rugby in the Russian top-flight league for Lokomotiv Penza.
Sables hopeful Curle, also born in Harare, has played at the highest domestic level in the United States, where his mother comes from.
A regular flyhalf in XVs rugby, Curle comes into the set-up for the first time at inside centre, with the experienced Chieza moving outside to 13 in a midfield combination that could prove a handful for Free Staters Griffons.
The midfield reshuffle sees Russell Dinha move from outside centre to right wing, a position the former Young Sables skipper will be more than comfortable with. Darrel Makwasha, who started in that role against the Georgians, moves across to 11.
The other positional change is in the pack, where Chiwambutsa has been shifted from flank to eighthman.
Starting line-up: 1. Victor Mupunga 2. Aaron Juma 3. Bornwell Gwinji 4. Godwin Mangenje 5. Andrew Evans 6. Dylan Utete 7. Johan Du Preez 8. Tonderai Chiwambutsa 9. Hilton Mudariki (captain) 10. Boyd Rouse 11. Darrel Makwasha 12. Brendon Curle
13. Takudzwa Chieza 14. Russell Dinha 15. Connor Kennedy.
Subs: 16. Declan Ralphs 17. Deanne Makoni 18. Panashe Rukodzi 19. Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa 20. Dustin Andrews 21. Ernest Mudzengerere 22. Munashe Chaitezwi 23. Ronald Ndidura.