Mutamangira calls for discipline

HARARE - Sables captain Denford Mutamangira believes his side needs to improve on their discipline in order to resurrect their 2018 Rugby Afrique Gold Cup campaign.

Zimbabwe opened their campaign with a demoralising 23-23 home draw against the newly-promoted Morocco at Harare Sports Club on July 16.

The result left the Sables' chances of qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in danger because they now need to win at least all their remaining four matches against Kenya, Namibia, Tunisia and Uganda.

Zimbabwe are now in fourth place on the six-team log with just two points while Namibia sit top with 10 points from two matches.

The Welwitschias (Namibia) have made its intentions of securing the sole ticket to Japan following impressive wins over Uganda (55-6) and Tunisia (118-0). However, the Sables’ game plan against Morocco earlier this month was largely blighted by the numerous penalties they conceded around the breakdown area.

Peter de Villiers’ players were guilty of not rolling away and coming in from the side at the breakdown and were penalised by South African referee Quinton Immelman.

Morocco flyhalf Hmiddouch Chakir was also deadly from the kicking tee as he missed just one of the four penalties he took.

Test rugby is a game of small margins and those penalties tucked in by Chakir ultimately cost the Sables a precious win.

“We spoke about it, conceding penalties. This was a Test match and the moment you concede a penalty, it means you are three points down,” bemoaned Mutamangira.

“So it’s something that we need to work on and it’s up to the players to get their attitude right in terms of discipline and not to concede penalties.”

The Sables prop also regretted his team’s lack of composure in critical phases of the game as they failed to assert themselves on the North Africans.

“I feel we were not patient at times; we just ended up rushing everything. When we were in control we needed to be a bit composed but I believe in the boys that we will pull through in our remaining fixtures. There are a few things that we need to work on,” Mutamangira said.

The Harare Sports Club front rower, however, is convinced that the Sables still have a good chance of qualifying for 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

“Even if you look at our previous fixtures when we play Namibia, we always play well, we play better; it’s just one game at a time,” Mutamangira said.

“I cannot say that we failed to beat Morocco; then we cannot beat Namibia or Kenya. Morocco are a different team, they like keeping the ball in the forwards.

“They kept us busy in the forwards and honestly think that because we failed to beat Morocco then we will not be able to win against Kenya, Uganda, Tunisia and Namibia.”

Zimbabwe’s next game is away to Kenya in Nairobi this weekend.

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