Tough lessons for Junior Sables

HARARE - Junior Sables were left leaking their wounds on Tuesday after being on the wrong end of rude awakening on the opening day of the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy campaign.

In truth, the Brendon Brider coached side left Harare Sports Club in agreement they had been taught a rugby lesson by Samoa following a crushing 24-54 defeat.

They now look to Saturday’s must-win clash against Uruguay at the same venue, hoping to salvage some pride.

But before they can do that they will need to take some serious introspection into the opening day defeat with the hope of putting up a more spirited fight.

On Tuesday, Zimbabwe struggled in all aspects of the game.

The biggest let down was their tackling where they missed a lot of first time tackles and allowed too many soft tries.

They were bullied in most of the scrums and lost majority off their own feed.

It was the same sad story for their line outs, which failed to function chiefly in the first half where the side’s hooker failed to find his jumpers several times.

Going into the match Zimbabwe’s strength was premised on relying on a quick backline to counter the Pacific Islanders’ size advantage. 

That plan never really took off as the half back pairing of Ernest Mudzengere and Tadiwa Gochera was kept at bay and rarely attacked the advantage line.

However, they were some positives which they can carry forward into the rest of their campaign.

There is no doubt the side possess raw talent in the likes of captain Connor Pritchard who was colossal on the deck.

The former Falcon College pupil inflicted a lot of turn over balls on opponents who are twice his size.

Fullback Shingi Katsvere had a few dazzling runs and showed some sense of adventure going forward in a backline which was off colour

Evidently this game proved again that there is not much attention paid to the strength and conditioning of our local rugby sides as the Junior Sables ran out of steam in the second half.

If the Junior Sables continue to struggle with basics such as tackling, passing and set pieces, then it will prove to be a long tournament for the hosts.

Saturday’s game against Uruguay will be crucial for the hosts to win in order to keep their tournament hopes alive.

Zimbabwe round off their campaign with a clash against Fiji on May 1 at Harare Sports Club.

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