This is a reality check: Mandenge

HARARE - The Zimbabwe rugby side’s relegation to the Africa Cup Group 1B at the weekend following the 27-34 home defeat to Uganda is a true reflection of the state of the game according to coach Cyprian Mandenge.   

The Sables put in a better show from the first home defeat to Kenya a fortnight ago but were still clumsy losing eight of the 10 line-outs and scrums exposing the weaknesses in their forwards at the Police Grounds on Saturday.

It is a match that will haunt Zimbabwe as qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup is now in jeopardy.

The Sables led 14-3 after 32 minutes but went onto concede two late tries towards the halftime beak.

In the second period, Uganda were always going to have the upper hand as they are better conditioned and the Sables, who did not play any preparatory matches ahead of the tie.

The Cranes went onto seal their win in the second period and with it, the Sables were sent packing into the second tier of African rugby.

The Sables now need to win Group 1B next year to be promoted back into Group 1A in 2018 in order to fight for a berth for the at the Rugby World Cup to be held in Japan.

“I think it’s also a reality check. People have got to be honest whether they are going to come back and regroup and make sure the guys get back into Group 1A, whether it’s going be me who’s going to be there or the next guy,” Mandenge said.

“Namibia went down to Group 1B at some point, they worked hard, came into Group 1A and went to the World Cup so it’s a matter of us and all the stakeholders putting heads together and see how best we are going to take rugby forward.”

The players have been largely an unhappy lot owing to a plethora of reasons varying form shoddy preparations, lack or non-payment of allowances and bonus and were on the verge of boycotting the first match against Kenya.

Going forward Mandenge believes these are some of the major issues that need to be addressed.

“Whether guys are going to give up, whether they are going to regroup or whatever decisions are going to be made, we need to be honest, regroup and take Zimbabwe to where it’s supposed to be,” he added.

“We need a competitive league; we need to be able to bring in all the players we call in for camp at any given time so that we make our national team a lucrative business once again so it’s everybody’s business to make sure we achieved that.”

Sables captain, Denford Mutamangira, who produced a massive hit before setting up fullback Tangai Nemadire’s 25th minute try, said his charges gave it their all but let themselves down by failing to stick to the basics.

“I think we really played a better game; much improvement from our last game but we let opportunities slip off a few times and we also allowed them score soft tries,” Mutamangira said.

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