Zimbabwe’s Rugby Rebirth: A Dive into the National Team’s Strategy for the Rugby Africa Cup 2024

The Zimbabwe national rugby team, known as the Sables, is gearing up for a significant challenge at the Rugby Africa Cup 2024, set to take place in Uganda this July. 

Under the new leadership of Piet Benade, the Sables are implementing a robust strategy aimed at securing a top-four finish, which would advance them to the next phase of World Cup qualifiers.

Strategic Leadership and Coaching

Piet Benade, recently appointed as the interim head coach, brings a wealth of experience from his playing and coaching career in both Zimbabwe and South Africa. 

His recent role with Old Hararians has prepared him well for this task. Benade emphasises a disciplined and structured approach to the game, focusing on solidifying the basics while enhancing the team’s tactical acumen​​​​.

Player Development and Squad Composition

The Sables have assembled a squad that blends experienced players with emerging talent. Notable inclusions are players such as Harlequins player, Lovejoy Chawatama, who brings stability to the front row, and Tapiwa Mafura of the Lions in the United Rugby Championship, whose versatility in the backline adds depth to the team. 

This balanced mix aims to create a cohesive unit capable of handling the pressures of high-level competition​​​​.

Strengthening the Forward Pack

A significant part of Zimbabwe’s strategy involves strengthening their forward pack. The inclusion of powerful forwards like Farai Mudariki and Eli Snyman is intended to ensure dominance in scrums and lineouts. 

This focus on a robust forward game is designed to provide a solid platform for the backs to execute strategic plays​​​​.

Backline Brilliance

The backline, featuring agile and creative players such as Tino Mavesere and TJ Maguranyanga, is expected to leverage speed and tactical kicking to exploit opposition defenses. 

The coaching team has worked on improving the backline’s coordination and decision-making under pressure, aiming for a cohesive unit that can capitalize on scoring opportunities​​.

Tactical Preparations

Zimbabwe’s preparations have included a series of friendly matches against regional opponents like Zambia and Botswana. These matches serve as crucial practice to fine-tune strategies and build team chemistry. 

Despite a recent win against Zambia, Benade highlighted the need for continued improvement, particularly in handling high-pressure situations and minimising unforced errors​​.

Support and Sponsorship

The team’s efforts are bolstered by significant sponsorship from Mukuru, a leading financial services company. This sponsorship ensures the team has the necessary resources for optimal preparation, including training camps, travel, and logistical support. 

The financial backing provides a morale boost and underscores the growing confidence in the Sables’ potential to succeed on the international stage​​.

Goals and Expectations

Zimbabwe’s primary goal for the Rugby Africa Cup 2024 is to secure a place in the top four, thereby progressing to the final qualification phase for the 2027 Rugby World Cup. 

The team’s strategy involves a balance of aggressive forward play, strategic kicking, and robust defence. By focusing on these key areas, the Sables aim to overcome formidable opponents such as Namibia, Kenya, and Uganda​​​​.


As the tournament approaches, Zimbabwe’s national team remains focused and optimistic. With a solid strategy, dedicated coaching staff, and top talent, the Sables are poised to make a significant impact at the Rugby Africa Cup 2024.

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