The Sunday Mail
Deputy Sports Editor
Zim Goshawks………………………….(5) 23
Boland Kavaliers ……………………. (15) 22
IT might not have been the most clinical of victories, but it was a win nonetheless.
However, Zimbabwe Goshawks head coach Brendan Dawson should consider himself lucky as his charges yesterday came from 10 points down at the break to grind out a 23-22 victory over the Boland Kavaliers at False Bay in Cape Town, South Africa.
Eyebrows were raised when he made six changes to the team that beat the Kenya Simbas 21-20 and gave the Goshawks their first victory of this Currie Cup Division One campaign a fortnight ago.
The Zimbabwe Sables and Goshawks gaffer was almost made to rue that decision immediately as Boland raced to a 15-5 lead inside the first half.
The Goshawks were in sixes and sevens early on, guilty of unnecessary turnovers and allowing the opposition to dominate set-plays and the breakdowns.
Fortunately, Boland failed to fully use that advantage as tries from scrumhalf Jaiden Baron and winger Warren Williams, a penalty and conversion from Centre Gavern Skippers was all they had to show for that dominance.
With the scores 15-nil, Zimbabwe managed to pull one back as Ernest Mudzengerere, operating at the left wing as opposed to his usual scrumhalf position, crossed the line just before the break. During the breather, Dawson shuffled his charges yet again, this time for the better, as he brought on usual skipper Hilton Mudariki – originally relegated to the bench – and gave Young Sables flyhalf Brendan Marume a go.
The two made an instant impact on the game as they took control of proceedings and marshalled Zimbabwe’s second-half comeback.
Mudariki was the first to register on the scoreboard as his two penalties reduced the deficit.
Zimbabwe then surged into the lead, ironically courtesy of yet another Under-20 graduate and substitute Takudzwa Musingwini.
Mudariki duly converted that try to leave the scores at 18-15, and with over 20 minutes to go.
It was at this time that Boland contributed to their own demise.
First, Williams scored his second try of the game, duly converted by Skippers, and all they had to do was run down the clock as they had retaken the lead.
Unfortunately for them, two yellow cards towards the end saw the Kavaliers reduced to 13 men.
Zimbabwe then made full use of their numerical advantage as Marume crossed the line right at the death to give the Goshawks that all-important win.
It was the second win of the tournament for Dawson’s men and should give them that extra bit of confidence, especially as the Currie Cup approaches its business-end and the Rugby Africa Cup draws near.
It is also important to note that Dawson is using this Currie Cup campaign to fine-tune and test out his charges, a point that probably explains the constant reshuffles.
The Rugby Africa Cup remains the main target, with the eight-team tournament being used as qualifiers for next year’s Rugby World Cup. Both the Africa Cup tournament and the World Cup will be held in France.