Cries of an injured Sable

HARARE - Despite playing in the discomfort of his collar-bone injury for the last two games of the Africa Gold Cup qualifiers, Sables captain Denford Mutumangira is still willing to lose even his leg or arm if that is what it takes for Zimbabwe to avoid relegation on Saturday.

The national flagship rugby side complicated their chances of remaining in Group 1 A after going down to Tunisia 23-31 at Prince Edward School on Saturday and a win alone might not be enough away in Uganda this Saturday but winning with a bonus point.

Zimbabwe had an opportunity to salvage a bonus point in defeat against Tunisia but fell a try short of getting the much-needed bonus, meaning they will have to fight tooth and nail to secure next year’s Group 1 A slot to mount any challenge for the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“I’m very gutted but we have got one more game to go which is going to be a tough one and if it means that we have to break our legs and arms to win that game we are gonna do everything we can to make sure that we secure our Group 1 A spot for next year’s qualifiers,” Mutamangira said.

“The Tunisians did their homework well. They kept us in the forward and we never got the chance to actually get the ball to our backs to run.

“The injury is still there but I have made a decision to play through the pain and just rest after the Uganda game.

“But I’m also taking precautionary measures to make sure that I don’t worsen it but obviously by playing, I’m prolonging the healing.

“It is, however, a choice that I have made that I will just play then rest after the campaign.”

Head coach Cyprian Mandenge is also optimistic that his charges will be able to weather the Ugandan storm and survive relegation on the final day of the Africa Gold Cup campaign.

“We showed what we can do in Namibia. I don’t know if guys easily got satisfied because of that but this is not Namibia it’s Tunisia we need to beat teams like Tunisia when they come here but credit to Tunisia they stuck to their game plan, just retaining the ball and slowing it down every time and controlling the game because they had possession,” Mandenge said.

“We have very high chances of remaining in the Group . . . it’s a sense of where we are. Are we ready to play at this level, what do we need to do, we need to change a lot of things.”

The Sables opened their campaign with a morale boosting 16-28 victory against Senegal in Dakar; they narrowly lost 31-26 to Namibia in Windhoek in their next game which was a bad omen for the other two defeats that followed at home; a 22-41 loss against Kenya in Bulawayo and Saturday’s defeat in Harare.

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