The Sunday Mail
THE relationship between former Sables compatriots Peter De Villiers and Brendan Dawson is fractured to the point of no repair.
The two were brought together just over a year ago, as coach and assistant coach of the Zimbabwe senior rugby team, in a move primarily meant to help send the country to the Rugby World Cup slated for Japan this September.
However, a dismal Gold Cup campaign and 14 months later, the two have since parted ways and seem destined for completely different paths.
One (PDV) continues to be struck in a never-ending state of purgatory, as the Zimbabwe Rugby Union stalls the results of his disciplinary hearing over allegations of absenteeism from work.
The other, Dawson, has been handed the reins to the Zimbabwe Academy side scheduled to take part in the SuperSport Challenge slated for April 27- June 29.
With the Africa Gold Cup on ice, after Kwese Sports’ decision to terminate their sponsorship, the Academy side will take priority albeit until the union can secure a few tests for their side.
And in his first move as coach, Dawson has closed his door on working with De Villiers in the near or distant future.
“The problem is that him and I couldn’t work together previously, so I don’t see us coming together ever again,” said Dawson when commenting on the structure of his technical team.
“I wouldn’t have taken up the job, if he was involved,” he said.
While he refused to further expand on the reasons behind their fractured relationship, Dawson did reveal that Zimbabwe-born former Springboks winger Tonderai Chavhanga has been brought in as his assistant.
“Let me start by saying that, it indeed is an honour to be in this position and coach the academy side,” said Dawson.
“The SuperSport Challenge is a great starting point for development; and while it is a massive task of coming up with a team and going there to compete, I am overwhelmed with the feedback I have received so far.
“I’m very confident with the squad that we have picked; and from a technical perspective, we have brought Chavhanga (Tonderai) who is going to be a massive influence for the guys.
“He brings in a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge into the backline play and attack play.
“He was one of the best in his days, and I am very excited to have him around,” he said.
On top of Chavhanga, Dawson is also expecting to work with former South Africa Rugby Union coach Brendan Venter. He will also bring in a strength and conditioning coach for the duration of the team’s stay in South Africa.
The Challenge cup is the secondary domestic rugby union competition in South Africa and will attract 15 teams comprising 13 local teams and two internationals in the Zimbabwe Academy side and the Namibian Welwitschias.
The teams have been divided into two groups, with Zimbabwe in the second pool alongside Boland Cavaliers, Eastern Province Elephants, Free State XV, Sharks XV, SWD Eagles and Western Province.
The Welwitschias have been grouped alongside the Blue Bulls XV, Flacons, Golden Lions XV, Griffons, Griquas, Leopards and Pumas.
Each team will play seven rounds of games under the round robin format, after which the top two teams from each group will qualify for the final stages.