Mehluli Sibanda in Paarl, South Africa
Old Mutual Zimbabwe Under-18…………………………………… (15) 44
Blue Bulls Country Districts Under-18 ………………………………(12) 19
THE Old Mutual Zimbabwe Under-18 continued with their winning ways at the Under-18 Coca-Cola Academy Week rugby tournament, an exceptional performance from the Zimbabwean youngsters seeing them overrun the Blue Bulls Country Districts at Paarl Boys High School on Wednesday.
Having defeated the South African Learners with Special Education Needs 29-27 in their opening match of the Academy Week on Monday, in a match they should have won by a wide margin the Scott Gray coached Junior Sables were outstanding on Wednesday. The Zimbabwean youngsters scored seven tries, three conversions and one penalty goal to record a convincing win. So outstanding were the Junior Sables that they conceded just three tries with their great defence breached only once in the second half.
Man of the Match, skipper Matthew Owuru started the try scoring with a brilliant individual effort, going over under the posts with 13 minutes played, flyhalf Victor Matarise adding the two extra points with a conversion. Wing Pride Gadzikwa gave Zimbabwe their second try of the match with 10 minutes left in the first half but Matarise missed the conversion.
Blue Bulls CD hit back with two tries in quick succession, the first by second centre Shayne Bolton and the second by wing Bronwin Arries with one of the tries converted by flyhalf Ethan Wentzel.
Matarise booted in a penalty goal just before the break to give the Junior Sables a 15-12 halftime lead.
Eight minutes into the second half, fullback Mufaro Chareka landed the third try for Zimbabwe with Matarise missing the conversion. Gadzikwa had his second try of the match, Matarise finding his kicking boots this time around with a successful conversion to put the Junior Sables 27-12 in front.
Nigel Tinarwo powered his way over the line for Zimbabwe’s fourth try with the conversion by Tinashe Hombiro unsuccessful. Owuru had his second try of the match from a scrum, Hombiro’s conversion on point.
With two minutes left, Blue Bulls CD had their only points for the second half, Bolton with his team’s third try, the conversion kick by Wentzel sailing in between the posts.
Flank David Bore scored Zimbabwe’s seventh try of the match straight from kick off with Hombiro’s missed conversion not mattering much with the Junior Sables triumphant.
Gray was delighted by his team’s performance and felt that the players he brought in did the hard work. He said this had made his job even more difficult as he tries to come up with his starting 15 for the last match against Namibia on Saturday.
”I am very happy for the players, that was a fantastic performance by them, they played some really, really good rugby, the defence was very hard hitting, solid, lot of work rate put into the defence, the guys that we brought into the team, the impact players, I am hesitant to call names out, Dylan Utete, Nigel Tinarwo were absolutely outstanding, they came and lifted the team. Kudakwashe Mashonga and Anthony Mundangepfupfu, they were fantastic and Makanza (Mudiwa) the small little guy running around on the field like that, the big hits he put in the that was an outstanding effort,’’ Gray said.
The Zimbabwean lads will now have two days of recovery prior to taking on Namibia in their last match at the Academy Week on Saturday.
Old Mutual Zimbabwe Under-18 against Blue Bulls CD: Anthony Mundangepfupfu, Mudiwa Makanza, Kudakwashe Mashonga, Ryan Dawson, Dylan Utete, Alce Melo, Matthew Owuru(captain), Makanakaishe Timba , Joshua Allardice(vice captain), Victor Matarise, Pride Gadzikwa, Ryan Mutandiwa, Mufaro Chareka, Nigel Tinarwo, Brendan Muchopa
Replacements: Brendon Sibanda, Declan Ralphs, Adrian Zivanai, Clyde Muzengeza, David Bore, Michael Mhute, Tinashe Hombiro, Jeffrey Antonio-Samuels