Sables relegated after Uganda defeat

HARARE - The Sables have been relegated to the Africa Cup Group 1B following another abominable 34-27 home defeat to Uganda yesterday at Police Grounds.

The last time Zimbabwe played in the lower tier of Africa’s premier rugby tournament was way back in 2011 when they won promotion to Group 1A.

However, the Sables stay in the top tier of African rugby lasted only four years and qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup is in jeopardy.

Here the Sables thrice came from behind having trailed early on from a penalty from the visitors’ full back Syrus Watum after only eight minutes.

Zimbabwe responded with a try from fullback Tangai Nemadire on 25 minutes which was converted by flyhalf Lenience Tambwera to give the hosts the lead.

United States-based wing Lungile Tshuma extended the Sables lead with another try on 32 minutes with Tambwera converting from a tight angle making it 14-3 in favour of the hosts.

But the Cranes responded with a try from Michael Okorach a minute from half time and prop Robert Masendi scored another one at the stroke of halftime which was successfully converted by Watum to give the visitors a 14-15 lead going into the break.

Zimbabwe started the second half on the offensive scoring two quick penalties in the opening six minutes through Tambwera to go 20-15 up.

But the Cranes levelled the scores on 50 minutes with Masendi getting his second try and fullback Watum missed conversion.

Watum would however, make it count in the 56th minute when he converted his own try as Uganda took the lead again 20-27.

The Sables refused to go down without a fight and wing Stephan Hunduza dotted down in the 63rd minute with Tambwera adding the extra points to tie the game at 27-27.

But Uganda’s wing Thomas Kalyango would break the home supporter’s hearts when he crossed the whitewash and Watum converted to give the visitors their 27-34 victory.

Sables coach Cyprian Mandenge said: “Unfortunately we got injuries at the wrong time and that did affect our game somehow because we ended up using a forward to play in the backline and also the other side we didn’t take our chances.

“We had chances that we were supposed to take but because we needed patience were so hungry we wanted to score tries but I guess it’s all about process.”

Uganda coach John Duncan said: “Critically the boys were up for the game I think it was a much improved Zim team kudos to them because they really came out and gave us a really hard game.

“The Zimbabwean forwards were very physical, we knew we weren’t going to get a run over them so we had to play in space and speed the game up and I think when we managed to speed the game up we did well.”

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.