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Kaulback sticks by his Cheetahs


CHEETAHS coach Graham Kaulback insists his rebuilding mission of the national rugby sevens side is on the right track despite his team’s failure to make an impact at the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens which ended here yesterday.

The new look Cheetahs capped off their campaign at the global tournament on a high after securing an impressive 31-17 win over Jamaica at the Cape Town International Stadium.

Zimbabwe’s consolation win against the Jamaicans meant they avoided the embarrassment of finishing the competition as the lowest ranked side as they settled for 23rd out of 24 teams.

“I’m really happy for the boys, they’ve been putting in so much work over the past months and it’s just awesome for the boys to get the win and all credit to them for coming through this morning and really putting on a good show,” head coach Graham Kaulback said after the match.

Although the Cheetahs’ overall performance was a far cry from past performances when they used to go toe to toe with some of the best sides in the world, Kaulback remains optimistic of a bright future ahead for his young side.

Over the past two years, the Zimbabwe selectors have been building trust in a new team consisting mainly of young locally-based players, with the aim of assembling a squad of specialist Sevens players in line with world rugby trends.

“With Sevens now being an Olympic sport, everything is moving so quickly in terms of professionalism so we’ve been working so hard in terms of taking some steps towards those steps towards that level with our team,” he said.

“I think it’s important not to make comparisons between team from different decades. It was a decade ago when the Cheetahs were beating Argentina, the USA, the sport has moved on a decade later. What we are trying to do is to train all year round instead of having camps just a week before which is the first step to semi professionalism.”

He added: “Like we have said from the beginning we are a process driven team so it’s not about outcomes for us but how we played in the games. I’m really proud of the guys’ efforts in following the processes but obviously we came short and we will have a good look at ourselves and our processes and the scores will start to take care of themselves.”

After successive defeats against Canada (31-7), Hong Kong (28-0) and South Korea (21-19), the Cheetahs finally came good against the Jamaicans yesterday, providing a ray of hope for a better future for the team.

The Cheetahs ran in five impressive through Kudzai Mashawi, Sam Phiri, Nigel Tinarwo while the Muneta twins, Munopa and Munesu also scored try each.

Playmaker Ryan Musumhi, who had a solid debut on his World Cup debut chipped in with three conversions.

Jamaica hit back with three late tries from Ashley Smith, Ronaldeni Fraser and Ryan Denvir towards the end while Rhodri Adamson managed a solitary conversion but it was a little too late as the Cheetahs held on for a consolation win.

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