THE Old Mutual Junior Sables ended their participation at this year’s Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week on a disappointing note with a loss to Namibia on the Osler Field at Kearsney College yesterday. It was a disappointing performance by Zimbabwe who beat Griquas Country Districts 16-9 in their opening match before they were drubbed 78-5 by Griquas in their second. By Mehluli Sibanda in Durban, South Africa
Old Mutual Zimbabwe Under-18………(0) 3
Namibia Under-18………………………….. (5) 34
A superb first half defensive show saw Zimbabwe trail by just five points going into the break but it all fell apart in the second period. In the end, Namibia managed six tries and two conversions while Zimbabwe got their only points of the match from a second half penalty goal.
Their second half show was not helped by the loss of hooker Tinashe Chaza who suffered an ankle injury in the first period. Further injuries to wings Peter Davis and Tapiwa Marimira in the second half did not help matters for the Junior Sables as that affected their rhythm.
Namibia got their try from right wing Rudi Pretorius in the fourth minute with the conversion kick missed by flyhalf Gerswin Mouton. Zimbabwe put up a great show in the opening half but they made errors going forward which saw them only make a foray into the Namibian 22-metre line from the 18th minute. Mouton wasted an opportunity to stretch Namibia’s lead five minutes before the break when his penalty fell short.
Namibia came out stronger after the break, left wing Elmarco Beukes going over for the second try from a won scrum three minutes into the second half but Chad Plato missed the conversion.
Second centre Matthew McNab booted in a long range penalty goal 10 minutes into the second half to reduce the deficit for Zimbabwe.
Man of the match Mouton recorded the third try for Namibia 17 minutes into the second stanza from a won scrum but Pretorius missed the conversion. Five minutes later, Mouton picked up his second try, the fourth for Namibia after sustained pressure but the conversion from Denzo Bruwer was not successful.
Namibia had their fifth try of the match 11 minutes before the end, scrumhalf Handre Klazinga benefiting from a huge overlap on the right side and this time around Mouton booted in the conversion.
Mouton had his hat-trick of tries five minutes prior to the end of the encounter from a successful scrum with the flyhalf going over near the posts, a try which he went on to convert as Namibia raced to a comfortable victory.
Junior Sables coach Godwin “Jaws” Murambiwa noted that they had a great first half with losing Chaza through injury one of the reasons why they lost.
Summing up the tour, Murambiwa said they came and did win their first match against Griquas Country Districts which was their first triumph at the tournament since 2013. He put down Zimbabwe’s struggles at the Craven Week to the fact that other teams do things in an organised manner.
Murambiwa feels that things need to change in future in the way that Zimbabwe prepare for the Craven Week where the team only trained together for six days prior to coming to South Africa.
Meanwhile, the Junior Sables return home this afternoon.
Old Mutual Zimbabwe Under-18 to play Namibia: Samuel Garnett, Tinashe Chaza, Daniel Hutchings, Godfrey Magaramombe, Stuart Dodington (team captain), Tichaona Hwangwa, Tendekai Chigwendere, Connor McMillan, Benjamin Meredith (backline captain), Peter Davis, Matthew McNab, Rodney Sachiti, Tapiwa Marimira, Martin Mangongo
Replacements: Marcus Nichole, Simbarashe Maringa, Tonderai Chiwambutsa, Liam Burnett, Jeremy Munyeza, Rangarirai Mariwa, Nqobisile Ncube
Coach: Godwin Murambiwa
Assistant coach: Graham Kaulback
Team manager: Tungamirai Mashungu