Sables remain grounded

HARARE - Sables coach Cyprian Mandenge is not getting carried away by Saturday’s win over Senegal and has urged the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) to step up their preparations for the Rugby Afrique Gold Cup.

Zimbabwe got their Gold Cup campaign off to a positive start when they had to come from behind to beat Senegal 16-28 in scotching hot conditions of Dakar.

However, prior to the team’s departure for West Africa, both Mandenge and captain Denford Mutamangira had bemoaned the Sables’ lackadaisical preparations.

Even upon the Sables’ return from West Africa on Monday, Mandenge was singing the same hymn.

“It was a very difficult game, the conditions were not favourable and I think it was a good idea that we play 20 minutes chuckers but still the heat was just too much,” Mandenge said.

“For a very fit person like Hilton Mudariki to struggle it only means something about the conditions. But we don’t want to mourn and groan about the refereeing but we felt hard done in a lot of ways.

“We don’t need to easily get satisfied by this victory because everyone is preparing very hard.”

Mandenge added: “Sunday when we were leaving Senegal, Uganda was arriving. They are playing on Saturday but they have already landed in Senegal which means everyone is taking it seriously.

“Tunisia are already in southern Africa, I think they are camping in Zimbabwe for their game against Namibia over the weekend so everyone is serious. We need to dig deep otherwise if we don’t get results this victory in Senegal would have gone to naught.”

Mutamangira echoed his coach’s sentiments describing Senegal as a team that plays dirty.

“It was a very tough experience. We are not used to those type of conditions and also considering the long travel we didn’t have actually enough time to rest,” the front rower said.

“The Senegalese as well they are dirty they play all the tricks to make sure that they frustrate you and that almost got into our heads but we just managed to calm down and play our game and despite all this, we managed to get the points we needed which is a bonus to us we also got a bonus point which is a good start.

“For me I never panicked (when trailing at halftime), we never panicked but all that we just needed to do was just to calm down, play our game and not adapt to their style type of play but I always knew that it’s tough but we will get the points that we needed.”

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