Sables fall to Hong Kong

HARARE - Zimbabwe XVs rugby side suffered their second defeat in the Regal Hotels Cup of Nations after going down 34-11 to hosts Hong Kong yesterday.

The Sables were at their best in the opening match of the second annual invitational tournament before narrowly losing to defending champions Russia 19-15 on Friday while Hong Kong ran away 51-5 winners over debutants Papua New Guinea on the same day.

Yesterday, the hosts blooded in 12 new players from the squad that beat Papua New Guinea while also handing three new players their Test rugby caps — hooker Ben Roberts, Marcus Ramage, left wing and eighthman Thomas Lamboley.

The hosts opened the match with two early tries in the first half from Alex Ng Wai-shing and Alex MacQueen which were both successfully converted by flyhalf Ben Rimene.

The number 10 extended Hong Kong’s lead with a penalty to give the hosts a 17-0.

Zimbabwe finally got onto the scoreboard when flyhalf Lenience Tambwera replied with a penalty of his own as the two teams went to the half time break with the scores at 17-3.

Soon after the break, Tambwera scored his second penalty of the day as the Sables looked to get back into the game. 

However, Rimene added another three points with his boot before debutant Lamboley scored his first try in Test rugby shortly after.

Rimene scored another penalty as the hosts completely took the game away from the Sables.

MacQueen scored his second try of the game with a late five pointer which was also converted by Rimene.

Zimbabwe had the last say in the match when centre Riaan O’Neill dotted down for the Sable’s only try of the game.

Hong Kong captain Nick Hewson said: “It was really good to get the win. But we were a bit disappointed not to take some of the chances we created, especially in the second half,” said the flank.

“Our set-piece was good, we had a high percentage of possession and the backs were creating opportunities tonight so hopefully we can execute a few more of those chances on Saturday.

“Now we can go into the game against Russia with a bit of confidence, but we know it is another step up. But we are well ahead of where we were last year. We are creating more plays, our ball carriers are better and our defence is stronger. We gave them points off of our mistakes today and we can’t afford that against Russia.”

Sables: 1 Denford Mutamangira, 2 Tolerance Zishe, 3 Lawrence Cleminson, 4 Witness Mandizha, 5 Michael Passaportis, 6 Biselele Tshamala, 7 Connor Pritchard, 8 Andrew Rose, 9 Kuziva Kazembe, 10 Lenience Tambwera, 11 Stephan Hunduza, 12 Riaan O’Neill, 13 Kudzai Mashawi, 14 Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, 15 Lungile Tshuma

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