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MURAMBIWA PRAISES OLD MUTUAL JUNIOR SABLES DEFENCE IN DURBAN

Old Mutual Zimbabwe Under-18 rugby team coach Goodwin Murambiwa was full of praises for his team’s brilliant defensive effort after they registered their first win at the Under-18 Coca Cola Craven Week Tournament since 2013 in Durban, South Africa on Monday.

Falcon College speedy winger Peter Davis’ last minute try ensured the Old Mutual Junior Sables rallied to a 16-9 win over Griquas Country Districts at Kearsney College’s Stott Field having trailed 9-3 at the break.

Davis’s fellow Falcon College schoolmate Mathew MacNab had set the platform for the Old Mutual Junior Sables with 11 points from three penalties and a conversion while Griquas flyhalf Iwan Lombard scored all nine points for the Northern Cape side from three penalties.

The impressive win ends a seven-match losing streak at the prestigious tournament dating back to Zimbabwe’s 43-5 victory over Limpopo Bulls in Polokwane in 2013.

While head coach Goodwin ‘Jaws’ Murambiwa, was happy with the win, he said he was more impressed with his team defensive effort as they defended resolutely before shutting out their opponents after the break.

“We are happy that we have finally won. I am sure everybody back home was waiting for the win, so we will take a positive from the win. I think Griquas deserve it because that is what they did to us in that first game we lost last year,” said Murambiwa, whose charges lost 17-12 to the same team last year in Stellenbosch after conceding a last minute try.

“As I said to the boys we will also take positives from the defensive effort. I thought they were very good in defence which is always important here to be able to defend for the full 70 minutes.

“The other positive that I would commend the boys is having the guts to run from your own line where under normal circumstances I would have been thinking of kicking the ball out so that we end with a draw,” Murambiwa said.

“The last positive that would commend the boys is having the guts to run from your own line where under normal circumstances I would have been thinking of kicking the ball out so that we end with a draw,” he said.

The former Sables coach’s comments came after his charges put on a resolute rearguard action under relentless pressure from the Griquas despite being kept deep in their half for the majority of the first half. In the past the Junior Sables have tended to fold under pressure due to lack of competitive match fitness and strength and conditioning programmes but it was a different case yesterday.

Instead of cowing into submission, the Old Mutual backed side grew in strength, marshalled by skipper Stuart Dodington, who was eventually named man of the match. There were also impressive performances by Peterhouse Boys fullback Martin Mangongo, Prince Edward hooker Tinashe Chaza and Churchill flank Tichaona Hwangwa amongst others.

Peterhouse scrum-half Connor MacMillan also put on a solid performance which could have been capped off with a try had the try not been ruled out by the television match official.

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