How the Sables fared against Madagascar

HARARE - Zimbabwe got their 2015 Rugby World Cup qualification quest off to a flying start with an emphatic 57-22 win over Madagascar in front of a strong 35 000 crowd in the rugby-mad island on Saturday.

With a tougher tie against traditional rivals Namibia coming up on Wednesday, the Sables will need to improve in several aspects of their game, especially defence.

Here is now the players fared against Madagascar: 

Loosehead prop (Denford Mutamangira, 7) – He had a stormer of a game.  Mutamangira was solid at scrum time as he kept the hosts on the backfoot. The Scotland-based front-rower was tremendous with ball in hand.

Hooker (Keith Murray, 6) – The Old Georgians number 2 had a good outing, rarely putting a foot wrong. Murray showed excellent throwing skills as he constantly found his jumper.

Tighthead prop (Kevin Nqindi, 6) – The former Zimbabwe youth international gave a good account of himself, giving the opposition loose forwards a tough time in the scrums.

Lock (Jan Ferriera, 6) – He collected everything at line-outs and secured vital possession for Zimbabwe, silencing his growing band of critics with a polished show.

Lock (Sanele Sibanda, 5) – The towering lock forward had a quiet game and was not involved much.

Open-side flank (Jacques Leitao, 9) – This man keeps getting better with age line fine wine. He was arguably the most impressive player in Sables colours, grabbing four tries. He put in some big hits in defence and linked well with the backs in attack.

Blind-side flank (Graeme Lawler, 8) –He was a menace on the deck on his test debut, pouncing on loose balls. Lawler contested for almost everything at the breakdown.

Eighthman (Lambert Groenewald, 8) – He showed his immense ball carrying skills, breaking the line on a lot of occasions in the match and was solid off the base of the scrum. The Lions loose forward was also making his debut.

Scrumhalf (Hilton Mudariki, 8) –It’s hard to believe this 21-year-old was playing in only his third test rugby match. He has settled superbly in the team. Mudariki put in a sterling performance both in defence and offence. He commanded the forwards excellently and recycled the ball well with his kicking game. He was also sound at complimenting his flyhalf.

Fylhalf (Guy Cronje, 5) – The Lions number 10 had a decent debut and kicked well with the wind. His tactical kicking was right on the money as he constantly gained vital territory for Zimbabwe. One worrying aspect to his play is ball distribution, which was poor at times and failed to command the line.

Inside centre (Riaan O’Neill, 6) – Another impressive debutant. He was marvellous going forward as he attacked the advantage line and carried the ball tremendously. O’Neill looked a bit vulnerable in defence, something he might need to work. Nonetheless a great debut.

Outside centre (Daniel Hondo, 5) – The skipper was below par by his own lofty standards, and was guilty of missing tackles. Hondo was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle in the first period which summed up his match. On offence, he rarely got his hands on the ball.

Right wing (Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, 7) – The reigning Rhodes University Sportsman of the Year was full of running with his explosive pace and managed to assist in debutant prop Farai Mudariki’s try.

Left wing (Stephan Hunduza, 7) – The speed merchant from Mbare was in the thick of action, popping up everywhere. His efforts were rewarded with a try of his own.

Fullback (Tangai Nemadire, 6) –He fielded the opposition’s kicks well and cleared the line superbly.

Replacements

Prop (Farai Mudariki) –The 19-year-old debutant managed to maintain the Sables’ intensity upfront when he was introduced and capped off a brilliant debut with a try.

Hooker (Mathew Mandioma) – He struggled with his throwing as he missed his jumpers a couple times. Mandioma was good with ball in hand as he punched holes in the Indian Ocean islanders’ defence and gave the team go forward ball.

Flyhalf (Lenience Tambwera) – He played the last t10 minutes but managed to make an impact nonetheless. Tambwera’s good ball service with his immaculate passing kept Madagascar pinned in their own half in the later parts of the match.

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