By Paul Munyuki
Australian rugby legend David Campese has been impressed with the Zimbabwe Under 20 side that is in camp for the Junior World Rugby Trophy, which begins in Salt Lake City on 18 June.
The former Wallabies full back arrived in the country on Sunday and had his first training session with the Young Sables at Harare Sports Club, a day after South African specialist coach Nico de Villiers jetted in.
The duo are in the country to help the Young Sables prepare for JWRT 2012 before their departure for a 10 day training camp and two friendly matches against the Castres Olympique academy and first team in France before heading to the USA.
De Villiers has been with the Young Sables before during these preparations and it is the Campese effect that has excited the Under 20 camp as they get tips from the Rugby World Cup 1991 Player of the Tournament who scored six tries in the competition.
The coaches are coming to Zimbabwe under an agreement between the International Rugby Board, the Zimbabwe Rugby Union and the Zimbabwe Under 20 committee led by former Sables wing Aaron Jani.
“I am impressed with the way the boys are appreciating what is coming their way, they are so attentive, they are talented and what more would one need if his players have such attributes,” said Campese.
“It is always difficult to assess the players in such early stages like in my case because I am coming from outside, but I have noted they have good, talented players who I have enjoyed working with. The good thing about the boys is that they are willing to learn and there is no better team to work with than a group of boys who are willing to learn and that makes the coach’s job a lot easier.
“There is still some work to be done though so hopefully we will put the little time we have to good use this week, but I am impressed with the knowledge the coaches have and this helps the players to be the best they can be.”
Donning the Wallabies jersey for 15 years, Campese became the first Australian to play more than 100 Tests for his country.
Campese also gave a motivational speech to the Young Sables before their departure at a fundraising dinner in La Seranata on Wednesday night, having not only is he impressed with the squad in camp but also the exploits of the technical team led by coach Brighton Chivandire and his two assistants Godwin “Jaws” Murambiwa and Garry Hewitt have caught his thoughts as well.
“I have had two training sessions with the boys so far with the first being Sunday when I arrived, it was a bit relaxed environment but that helped us as much as possible.
“The coaches know exactly what they want and they are firm about whatever stance they take and it also makes it easy for them to gel with the players but I will help more on skill and if the players get that right then they will be okay and good to play.”
Paul Munyuki is a rugby writer with The Herald of Zimbabwe.