Sables upstage the Dutch

26 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
Sables upstage the Dutch

The Sunday Mail

Sports Reporter

Netherlands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  (7) 7

Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   (18) 30

ZIMBABWE’S Sables got just the kind of confidence booster they needed ahead of the start of Rugby Africa. The Sables turned on power on Netherlands in a maiden Test between the two teams at Rugby Stadium Amsterdam yesterday.

It was the final preparatory match for the Sables ahead of the July 1 start of the Africa Cup in Marseille, France.

While not the most clinical of wins they have posted, victory nonetheless gave coach Brendan Dawson and his side the kind of momentum heading into eight-team Africa Cup. More importantly, it gave Dawson and his technical team one last chance to closely assess his team and try to iron out any grey areas before they open their campaign with a date against Cote d’Ivoire.

Zimbabwe got their points from tries by centres Takudzwa Chieza and Matthew McNab, fullback Takudzwa Musingwini and replacement forward Liam Larkan.

Musingwini also chipped in with two penalties and a conversion, while skipper Hilton Mudariki added another conversion.

However, the kicking department proved to be the team’s biggest undoing.

They had to use three kickers — Mudariki, Musingwini and another replacement James Forrester in yesterday’s match.

It was all in vain as Zimbabwe left as many as 16 points on the pitch, missing four penalties and two conversions.

Mudariki and Musingwini missed three penalties, some from really good distances, and a conversion during the first half.

Forrester and national Under-20 graduate Musingwini missed another conversion and penalty during the second stanza.

With the margin of error very small- given their first match against Cote d’Ivoire, and a potential semi-final fixture against perennial rivals Namibia- it would be wise for Dawson to put his house in order during the next couple of days. The coach can, however, draw comfort from the fact that his charges looked strong on the defensive-end.

It took a momentary lapse in concentration by the visitors for the home side to put some points on the board.

With the Zimbabwe forwards anticipating the whistle from the match official, Dutch flanker Liam Stone took advantage of the confusion and made a beeline for Zimbabwe’s try-line from the centre of the pitch.

His fly-half Mees Van Oord duly found his mark between the pencils.

The match then ended with minimal incidents. With the Netherlands leg of the Sables’ preparations now done and dusted, the next stop is France.

France is to play host to this year’s edition of the Rugby Africa Cup, slated for July 1-10.

Namibia, Senegal, Kenya, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Algeria and Côte d’Ivoire will join Zimbabwe in the battle for the automatic ticket to the World Cup.

The winner of the clash between the Ivorians and the Sables will face the victors of the encounter pitting Namibia and Burkina Faso. Kenya will start their campaign with an East African derby showdown with Uganda, and the winner will proceed to set up a date with the triumphant side from the tie between Senegal and Algeria.

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