NEW: Sables brace for Ivory Coast test  

30 Jun, 2022 - 15:06 0 Views
NEW: Sables brace for Ivory Coast test  

The Sunday Mail

Online Reporter

AFTER wrapping up preparations for the Rugby Africa Cup with a 30-7 victory over Netherlands last weekend, Zimbabwe are expected to kick off their campaign with a make-or-break quarterfinal clash against Ivory Coast on Friday.

The match kicks off at 9pm Zimbabwe time.

The Sables arrived in France on Wednesday and were expected to go through their standard captain’s run on Thursday to get a feel of the field and stadium.

Sables skipper Hilton Mudariki told The Sunday Mail Online that the win over Netherlands has raised the team’s spirit.

“Yeah, the win against the Netherlands was certainly a confidence booster for us, especially as we head into the Africa Cup,” said Mudariki.

“We have been together in the Currie Cup (First Division) for a while now, and for us to then come in and play against a Test nation ranked higher than us and get the chance to see where we are as a squad, was awesome.”

But the win also highlighted a weakness in the Sables team – the kicking.

With points coming from tries by centres Taku Chieza and Matthew McNab, fullback Takudzwa Musingwini and replacement Liam Larkan, the team could have won by a bigger margin had it not been for the awful kicking on display.

Zimbabwe left as many as 16 points, as the trio of Under-20 graduate Takudzwa Musingwini, replacement James Forrester and Mudariki let the team down with some wayward kicking.

And, with the margin of error very small in their first match against Ivory Coast, and a potential semi-final fixture against perennial rivals Namibia waiting, Mudariki admitted it was a cause for concern.

“Yes, it is definitely an area that we need to work on as a squad, as those points that we missed could possibly win or lose us a game. Leaving that number of points is unacceptable,” said the skipper.

For Friday’s match against Ivory Coast, the Sables have received a timely boost with the arrival of Tapiwa Mafura, who is fresh off a Currie Cup victory with the Airlink Pumas.

The Pumas produced a sensational masterclass performance to win their first-ever Currie Cup, courtesy of a 26-19 victory over The Windhoek Draught Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.

“Taps (Mafura) has joined the squad and his arrival is a huge confidence booster for us all.”

A lot of the younger guys are expected to learn a lot from Mudariki, while he will also add a lot to the group on and off the field.

Share This: