The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE finished off their Pool A campaign at the Men’s Rugby Sevens Olympics final qualifier on a bright note when they defeated Tonga 26-17 at the Stade Louis II in Monaco on Sunday.
With the win, Zimbabwe finished third in Pool A with eight points, which means they are out of contention for a place in the semifinals. Ireland and Samoa progressed to the last four from the pool.
The Cheetahs conceded two quick tries which saw them 10-0 down early into the contest. Martin Mangongo and Kudzai Mashawi scored a try each, with both of them converted by Ryan Musumhi which for Zimbabwe to head into the break leading 14-10.
After the break, Shingirai Katsvere did well to chase a kick, gather the ball and score a try whose conversion was missed by Musumhi for Zimbabwe to lead 19-10. Tonga did hit back with a converted try which saw them reduce the deficit to two points.
Mangongo showed some good football skills to score his second try of the match and Musumhi added the extra two points with a successful conversion to give Zimbabwe some breathing space. Tonga did fight hard in the last few seconds of the match but Zimbabwe were resolute in their defence to claim their second win of the tournament.
Ireland meanwhile topped the pool with 12 points after they thumped Samoa 21-7 in the last group fixture.
Zimbabwe finished fifth in the tournament, which was a huge achievement for a team full of inexperienced players.
On top of that Mashawi, Musumhi, Sam Phiri, Godknows Mavara were listed amongst the best performers at the tournament. – @Mdawini_29