This Potential Zimbabwean XV is Unbelievable!

The trend of players being imported into top tier nations at an early age with a view to becoming nationalised and therefore available for international selection is becoming increasingly common in rugby.

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Just look at the likes of Tim Visser or Manu Tuilagi for examples of players being re-nationalised for the purposes of filling a specific position that a national side feel they need to fill. After a bit of research it occurred to me that whilst a lot of people will point to the likes of Samoa and Tonga as examples of countries suffering from a player drain, a bit of research showed that it was in fact the Zimbabwean national side that is one of the hardest hit. After a bit more digging I have managed to pull together this slightly tenuous XV of players who could potentially have played in the Zimbabwean colours (just look at that backrow);

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15 – Thom Evans

Ok so he might have had to retire a few years ago but Thom Evans was born in Harare and could of been part of this incredible Zimbabwean XV where he would likely have received more considerable more than the 10 caps

14 – Tonderai Chavhanga

The Zimbabwean born South African winger Tonderai Chavhanga played 4 times for the Springboks scoring 30 points in the process. No doubt had he been playing for Zimbabwe he would have considerably more international caps and tries to his name.

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13 – Max Evans

Ok so including Max Evans here is an incredibly tenuous link but based on his brother Thom having been born in Zimbabwe I’m sure we can squeeze him and his 39 caps into this Zimbabwean XV.

12 – Nils Mordt

The Saracens and England 7’s centre is able to also cover full back and fly half and brings a wealth of top level experience to this Zimbabwean XV having spent the last 10 years playing in the Aviva Premiership.

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11 – Takudzwa Ngwenya

Like Chavhanga, US international winger Ngwenya adds bags of pace out wide for this Zimbabwean XV. With 27 caps and 50 points to his name along with 340 points for Top 14 club Biarritz Ngwenya is an extremely potent finisher.

10 – Kyle Godwin

At just 21 the U20’s capped Australian fly-half Kyle Godwin could have been a mainstay in the Zimbabwean national side for the next decade. Born in Zimbabwe, the Force playemaker has plenty of potential to develop into an excellent pivot.

9 – Ian Prior

Godwin’s Force half-back partner Ian Prior can call on the ancestry card to make it into this Zimbabwean XV. Another young player who has had experience at the Reds and Brumbies who could have developed into a mainstay in the Zimbabwean national side.

1 – Tendai Mtawarira

Tendai Mtawarira also known as ‘The Beast’ has been one of the mainstays in the Springboks front row over the last 6 years and looks set to continue as such for years to come. One of World rugby’s most renowned props, The Beast originally hails from….you guessed it, Zimbabwe!

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2 – Pieter Dixon

Ok so Dixon is another player who retired a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t that long ago for him not to still be a viable option (just look at Victor Matfield). Dixon has vast experience of playing in both the Premiership and Super 15.

3 – Brian Mujati

Another highly regarded prop, Brian Mujati would strike a formidable partnership with Mtawarira as the pair of them anchored down the scrum. Having already received 12 caps for the Springboks it seems inevitable he would have earned many more had he opted to play for Zimbabwe.

4 – Don Armand

The former Stormers man is now playing for Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership and is capable of covering both lock and back row positions. Despite not being capped internationally he brings considerable experience into this Zimbabwean XV.

5 – Andy Rose

The only player in this side to have ever represented Zimbabwe at senior level, Andy Rose is squeezed into the second row despite usually appearing as an all action flanker. His experience captaining Zimbabwe would be no doubt invaluable in this XV.

6 – Dave Denton

Scotland’s stand-out performer so far in the 2014 Six Nations, Dave Dention was originally born in Zimbabwe and would have been a great addition to this Zimbabwean XV having already claimed 19 caps for the Scots.

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7 – David Pocock

The Australian openside has been hit by injuries recently but when fully fit has been recognised as being one of the stand out players in his position worldwide. Had he opted to play for his native Zimbabwe he would no doubt have been a huge asset to the national side.

8 – Dave Ewers

The Exeter Chiefs Number 8 has been in excellent form so far this season, so much so that he has recently been called up to the England Saxons squad. At just 23 he could of been another play to have built the Zimbabwean national side around.

Do you think more should be done to encourage players to stick with their national sides or is this an inevitable part of the globalisation of rugby?

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11 comments

  1. you post some seriously interesting and well researched stuff and have great opinions on union rugby, keep up the great work!

    btw what do u think of the Worriors (english prem) signing of top team players since they are going to be relegated to be playing championship rugby?

    • Thanks very much for the comment Ben, always appreciate feedback 🙂
      With Worcester I get the feeling that there could be some big changes coming to the Premiership as they have signed some excellent players whilst Bristol are splashing the cash in the Championship. This may be to do with having the Welsh regions potentially joining or could just be an expansion to 14 sites.

      • hadn’t thought of it in term of the Welsh joining, but i do think its been a long time coming and should go further to have the at least the 2 Scottish sides if not the Irish as well, and then we’ll be able to have two tiers of top quality and fully professional rugby instead of one! Then the northern hemisphere might be able to compete with the southern hemisphere Super Rugby teams who out class our teams by far.

    • Stick to the topic of the article! We didn’t come here to talk about your sorry ass relegated team. Explain why this is happening in Zimbabwe and why the union allows this to go on. No wonder rugby doesnt grow as fast because the media is boiled down to like 8 countries. there are over 100 member nations in rugby union and yet only 20 teams play in the world cup. How useless is the leadership??? IRB SUCKS!

      • the standard tho!!!! They are all shit, and that is not the IRB’s fault its due to the interest and funding at a national level not an international one. Blame zimbabwa for them being shit not the IRB same with soma blame them for letting players move away and not being desirable enough for world class players.

  2. I take exception to the fact Manu is basically referred to as a project player in the article. He moved over to Britain aged 13 so his family could join his brother Freddie, who was already playing in Wales, and played most of his age-grade rugby over here.

  3. Didn’t Ewers emigrate to England as Mugabe seized his family’s farm and they wanted to escape the violence? Hardly him being deliberately imported! I believe Pocock was similar?

  4. Pieter Benade. Prince Edward boy who play Western Province, out owing to injury

  5. As well as Bob Skinstad was born in Materday Hospital, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Pull this dream team of “when we’s” together and I bet we’d cross the white wash once or twice against the worlds top teams.

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