Sables seek strong finish

HARARE - Zimbabwe XVs senior men’s rugby side will be looking to end the Regal Hotels Cup of Nations on a high by beating debutants Papua New Guinea in their last match at the Hong Kong Football Ground today.

The Sables saw their hopes of making it into this year’s final of the Four Nations Cup extinguished following a 34-11 defeat to hosts Hong Kong at King’s Park on Tuesday having already gone down 19-15 to defending champions Russia in their tournament opener.

“It’s those tiny little mistakes that we just need to work on, most of the guys are still new in the side and the majority of them are playing in only their first international competition but on the overall I’m happy with the way we conducted ourselves in these two matches,” Mandenge told the Daily News from Hong Kong.

“With a bit of luck though, both matches would have gone either way. Our aim has been to prepare for the Africa Cup; a lot of guys have accounted themselves well and deserving of game time and what we are looking for now is to end the tournament on a high note by beating Papua New Guinea in our last match on Saturday (today).

“It won’t be an easy encounter though because they also lost their first two games and virtue of them playing here for the first time they would want to prove a point that their selection was not a mistake but on merit.”

Zimbabwe had an encouraging start to the tournament with the locals narrowly losing 19-15 to defending champions Russia last week.

At last year’s tournament, the Sables lost by a heavy 50-5 scoreline to the Russian Bears.

After that brave performance against the Europeans, Mandenge thought his side would get the win in the second match against Hong Kong but it was not to be.

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