Sables in low key return

HARARE – The Zimbabwe national XVs rugby team quietly sneaked back into the country this week from their Hong Kong Cup of Nations campaign that yielded three test defeats.That most of the players were meeting for the first time on tour ultimately meant the whitewash came as no surprise.

Lacking high intensity matches, or any form of rewards system for players, the Sables concluded their Hong Kong Cup of Nations outing with 36-11 defeat to Portugal over the weekend.

In that match the African side had made a strong start with 3-0 lead in the 20th minute after a penalty from fly-half Tichafara Makwanya but Portugal levelled the scores with a penalty moments later and from there on they didn’t look back.

In the end three defeats from their three outings saw Cyprian Mandenge’s charges assume fourth position whilst Russia who overcame a resilient Hong Kong on Saturday claimed the inaugural four-team Hong Kong Cup of Nations.

Both teams were rewarded with moves up the World Rugby global rankings — Russia from 22nd to 21st place and Hong Kong from 24th to 23rd.

“Well to be honest comparing the three games we played you could tell if we had prepared more together as in having more training time as a squad we could have come out with better results,” wing Manasah Sita said.

“The way we played the first and the last game when we managed to have two training sessions you could tell the difference.

“Some of the boys we met there for the first time not even talking about getting to know how the other guy plays and stuff.”

The Germany-based wing believes the Sables can go far if they get support.

“To be honest the boys gave  everything and I think going forward hopefully on tournaments like this if we can get more training time together as a squad the team will definitely bring back the good results.”

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