The Sunday Mail
Deputy Sports Editor
Prince Edward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (12) 29
Churchill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (10) 20
BULLDOGS’ head coach Geoff Madhake would likely have popped a vein if yesterday’s high-profile rugby derby tie between Churchill and Prince Edward School had lasted just a few more minutes.
The seasoned coach cut the figure of a man hugely frustrated as he watched his Bulldogs hand over bragging rights to their rivals owing to too many unforced turnovers and a litany of missed tackles during the hotly contested encounter at Prince Edward’s Jubilee Field.
“It was a great game, which is to be expected whenever these two teams meet,” said Madhake.
“It could have gone either way, too, but we made so many errors and we got punished for it.
“You don’t make that many mistakes against a team like Prince Edward, outside your own 22-yard line, and expect them not to punish you.
“In terms of defence, we have to go back to the drawing board and work on our tackling.
“The boys have to get as low as possible and take down the opponent.
“Some of these boys at Prince Edward are huge, and, if you don’t get down low, they will hand you off.”
An electric atmosphere enveloped the packed venue and the two teams lived up to their billing by delivering the goods on the pitch.
Prince Edward deserve credit for capitalising on their opponents’ weaknesses, and they used the running game to good effect.
They got on the scoreboard through tries by Tinotenda Rusike, Allen Mawunga, Munashe Mufandaedza and Ethan Chitendeni, while Wayne Kunaka, who had a good game with the boot, chipped in with three conversions and a penalty.
However, if there was to be one chink in their armour, then it was their discipline.
As expected, both teams came into the game charged up and each had a player sent to the sin.
The Bulldogs’ centre Thabani Hlatshwayo received a yellow card in the first half for a dangerous tackle, and the hosts’ Emanuel Gabi committed a similar offence in the second.
The hosts often found themselves on the wrong side of the game’s standing referee Walter Njowa, who even awarded Churchill School a penalty-try for repeated infringements by the Tigers inside their own 22.
The rest of Churchill’s scores came from a try by Tadiwa Govera, a conversion and two penalties by Joseph Chiriseri.
Yesterday’s win means the Tigers have now completed a double over their fiercest rivals.
It left their coach Shaun De Souza all smiles. “It was a much-improved game and performance from our last meeting.
“We expected the physicality as Churchill definitely came hard at us, and my boys were up for the challenge,” De Souza said.
“Our defensive system was top-notch and I applaud my boys for working so hard.
“It was a derby at home, our 125th anniversary and we got the win. What a way to play your first home game of the season!”