The Sunday Mail
ZIMBABWE’S Sables may not have played with the fluidity that their coach Brendan Dawson would have loved but they were still good enough to get their Victoria Cup rugby campaign off to a filer with a convincing win at a packed Machinery Exchange Stadium at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
The matched dubbed the ‘Battle of Zambezi’ was a feast for local fans who marvelled at the new look forward pack that worked very hard at break downs, scrums and defensive structures.
Daniel Mangongo, one of the eight debutants for Zimbabwe, scored his maiden Test try in the first half, adding to Daniel Capsopoulos’ opener to leave Zimbabwe leading 15-3 at the break.
Zimbabwe looked more conditioned and structured than Zambia, whom they starved of possession and dominated their territory with excellent ball carries from the likes of Blithe Mavesera.
Capsopoulos added his second try off another brilliant set-piece, but the star of the second half was Takudzwa Chieza, who came off the bench to score a brace of tries on his debut.
Zambian coach Lawrence Njovu said they expected a very tough encounter and the result was not a surprise.
“We knew Zimbabwe would come hard at us. We beat them last year and we knew they would be coming back for us.
“We came up with 70 percent of a new team and we had a few hiccups as we had injuries from our league final last week. Twelve of our players were injured and we had to pick boys from our Under 20s, but we cannot take away anything from Zimbabwe,” Njovu said.
This is a good result for Zimbabwe, one which Dawson would have liked to be more clinical, especially as Zimbabwe face Uganda in two weeks.
“The scoreline is a nice win but I don’t believe we performed as well as I wanted. I don’t think we were accurate enough. We did not protect our ball enough.
“We had some good scummaging and some good line-outs, everything was good but we were not clinical and we lost too much ball possession.
“Our penalty count was ridiculous – we cannot afford to play the top-level sides and win like that,” said Dawson.
Meanwhile, Zambian Women broke Zimbabwean hearts, beating them 19-18 after coming from a 13-5 deficit at half-time. Churchill Bulldogs were brought to a grinding halt in a 10-10 stalemate against St Georges College in a hair raising school boy derby.