Sables stay up

Petros Kausiyo in KAMPALA, Uganda
Uganda . . . . . . . . . . . . (10) 18

Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . (19) 38

PETER DE VILLIERS was left purring after his Sables seemingly secured their Rugby Africa Gold Cup status courtesy of a 38-18 victory over Uganda at Kyadondo Rugby Club yesterday.

Zimbabwe came into battle against the third placed Cranes, starring relegation from the elite Gold Cup if they had not managed anything short of a victory.

But by the end of the 80 minutes, the former Springboks coach was easily the happiest man at Kyadondo Rugby Club, as he saw his charges finally getting it right on the scoreboard.

The Sables ran in six tries and had four conversions to seal a bonus point victory against the hosts who had been on resurgence, winning their previous two assignments against Tunisia and Morocco.

Zimbabwe’s tries came from Connor Pritchard, Brendon Mandivenga, Shayne Makombe, fullback Shingirayi Katsvere and a double from Tafadzwa Chitokwindo.

Flyhalf Lenience Tambwera chipped in with four conversions.

Zimbabwe ended the 2018 campaign with eight points and crucially, their victory meant they did not have to be bothered about the outcome of the Maghreb derby showdown between Tunisia and Morocco played last late night Tunis.

De Villiers who has always preached a gospel of belief in his men, sticking by them in the face of criticism and resting calls for an overhaul of the squad said he had been impressed to see a victory that was secured out of collective efforts.

“It is their moment and I am going to let them enjoy it,’’ said the Paarl-born rugby tactician.

“There were all the ingredients of brilliant rugby on show here today, brilliant line break, brilliant ball skills on the ground,’’ he said.

De Villiers also reflected on their opening three games and noted that inexperience and lack of mental strengths had been their biggest undoing.

“We worked the whole year, we couldn’t control the scoreboard, we couldn’t control the intellectual properties of our individuals but we had a change of direction against Namibia you could see the turnaround already.

“These youngsters can only grow and I think Zimbabwe rugby can have years of rejoicing.

“We didn’t make it to the World Cup but it is not the only World Cup we are going to work hard to earn the trust of the people for 2023,’’ said De Villiers.

Uganda Cranes coach John Duncan attributed his team’s defeat to moments of ill-discipline in the opening half in which two of his players picked yellow cards.

“I think Zimbabwe played particularly well and ill-discipline at times cost us getting two yellow cards in the first half really half our chances and the try we conceded just before half time just when we were clawing our way back hurt but credit to Zimbabwe they played well.

“They played their own brand of rugby and at times we seemed to try and emulate them when we have been known to throw the ball around and this piled pressure on us,’’ Duncan said. It was torrid afternoon for Duncan and his charges, who could only muster two tries from Byron Oketayot, Michael Okorach.

Fullback Philip Wokorach two conversion and a penalty.

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