THESE are indeed dark days for Zimbabwean rugby. For all the talk of a new start and a brighter future under the recently elected Zimbabwe Rugby Union executive, Nyarai Sibanda, our bid to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup went up in smoke yesterday after the Sables fell to Uganda and were relegated to the lower tier Africa Cup Group 1B. It was the team’s second defeat in as many matches at Morris Depot. By Tinashe Kusema – Sunday Mail
Zimbabwe. . . . .. . ..(15) 27
Uganda . . . . .. .(17) 34
Zimbabwe got their tries from Tangai Nemadire, Lungile Tshuma and Stephen Hundudza, while Lenience Tarembwa chipped in with two penalties and three conversions. The visitors got on the scoreboard through a hattrick from fullback Syrus Watum, Hooker Robert Masendi and Winger Thomas Kalyango.
Watum, who had a bad day in the office with the boot, also chipped in with two conversions and a penalty. The defeat, Zimbabwe’s second of the campaign after the 61-15 mauling by Kenya a fortnight ago, means that the Sables are still to collect their first set of points and find themselves anchoring the group.
Uganda, on the other hand, not only picked up their first win of the campaign but more importantly their second bonus point courtesy of scoring four tries. Their first came during their 31- 40 loss to Kenya a fortnight ago.
Now with one match left in this year’s campaign, a tricky away fixture to Namibia, the Sables are playing for nothing but pride, that is if they still have any after yesterday’s poor performance.
While there was very little to write home about yesterday’s match, as both teams were more often than not guilty of schoolboy errors, Uganda’s coach John Duncan chose to concentrate on the win and the few positives he could muster from the encounter.
“I think the boys came here hungry for the win and as it turns out were up for the encounter. I am very happy we managed to win,” said Duncan. “Kudos to Zimbabwe for giving us a good run for our money and showing drastic improvement, but I am proud of my changes and now we are looking forward to the next match.”
The hosts’ coach Cyprian “Supa” Mandenge was at a loss for words and directed all questions to his backline coach Daniel Hondo. “It is indeed disappointing to lose a match, but I believe it was a much better game and performance from our clash against Kenya,” said Hondo.
“We made way too many simple basic errors, and at crucial moments of the game, which Uganda capitalized on and made us pay. ‘That said, we now have to go back to the drawing board and start building and planning for our return to group 1A.
“This starts with putting our structures in place, blooding new players into the team and making sure we prepare well and take these games seriously.”
D. Mutangamira, K. Murray, P. Joubert, C. Dinha, S. Sibanda, T. Biselele, J. Leitao, N. Ndlovu, H. Mudariki, L. Tambwera, S. Hundudza, B. Rouse, G. Nyawata, L. Tshuma, T. Nemadire
M. Mandioma, L. Clemson, F. Chipendu, C. Jiji, W. Mandizha
R. Masendi, B. Odongo, E. Kitooke, C. Kimbowa, O. Uhuru, J. Wandicho, B. Asaba, B. Aketayot, A. Mpande, P. Ogena, T. Kalyongo, M. Okorach, C. Lubanga, I. Magomu, S. Watum
M. Odong, E. Kasiita, A. Mugerwa, P. Wokorach