The late Zimbabwe national rugby team forward Sanele Sibanda who perished in a car accident in the United Kingdom where he was playing club rugby for Hull RUFC, was a ‘gentle and ferocious’ rugby giant, legendary player and Sables coach Brendon Dawson has said.
Dawson described Sibanda, who died aged 29, as a versatile member of the Sables, who cemented his position in the team with his aerial ball retention acumen and hard hitting runs and crunching tackles.
He said:
“Sanele was a true embodiment of resurgence of the Sables. He will be sadly missed. Rest easy Gentle Giant Smiley.”
Zimbabwe Rugby Union vice-president (Southern Region) Martin Shone said Sibanda was an inspiration to young rugby players.
“Being a national team player comes with great responsibilities and Smiley’s exemplary behaviour was an inspiration to young rugby players,” he said.
The late Sibanda was part of the Sables’ squad that played in the 2015 World Cup qualifiers and also represented the country in the SARU Gold Cup and Africa Cup.
The ex-Old Miltonians and Matabeleland Warriors player, who also had stints with Durban Harlequins and College Rovers in South Africa, started playing cricket at a tender age while at Plumtree High School.

State Media