ZIMBABWE U-19 rugby coach Brighton Chivandire could afford a smile after his side’s 42-0 win over Tunisia on Wednesday, but knows the job is far from done as he braces for a tougher challenge from Namibia in the CAR U-19 Rugby Championship decider at Prince Edward School on Saturday.
Report by Daniel Nhakaniso
The match which kicks off at 4pm promises to be tightly contested, with the winners automatically qualifying for next year’s IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in Chile.
While history suggests the Namibians could be easy pickings for Zimbabwe which beat them in the last three finals since 2009, Chivandire says his players are aware of the pitfalls of complacency. Last year Young Sables beat Namibia 29-17 to qualify for the 2012 Junior World Rugby Trophy in the US.
“Obviously it’s going to be a tough match and we are taking Namibia very seriously,” Chivandire said. “Yes we might have beaten them in the past but all that is history now and this will be a completely different match.”
Asked about his impression of the Namibians following their performances against Kenya and Tunisia, Chivandire said: “They (Namibia) are a very good side and I think their results and performances in this tournament show that. They are very quick, well organised on the set piece and good both in open and broken play; we will have to find ways to have a chance of winning.”
Namibia has by far been the most outstanding team at the youth tournament with two impressive bonus points wins over Tunisia (44-7) and Kenya (39-11).
Zimbabwe only managed to scrap through 13-10 in their first match against Kenya before rediscovering their form to thrash Tunisia on Wednesday, collecting one bonus point which leaves them needing only a win against Namibia to be crowned champions.
In recent years, Zimbabwe has taken over the mantle from Namibia as Africa’s best junior team (after South Africa), qualifying for the IRB Junior World Trophy for the past three years.
The Young Sables will yet again look to flyhalf Luke Masasire for inspiration as he was the centerpiece of their performance on Wednesday after missing the Kenya match.
While almost all aspects of Masasire’s play were delightful, his kicking needs improvement as he only managed to convert two of the hosts’ six tries.
Tomorrow’s Fixtures: Morocco v Zambia (1130), Tunisia v Kenya (1300), Uganda v Madagascar (1430), Zimbabwe v Namibia (1600).
Young Sables Probable Team (15-1): 15. Tarisai Musakanda 14. Takudzwa Kumadiro 13. Richard Chigumba 12. Kudzai Mashawi 11. Lance Chikodzi 10. Luke Masasire 9. Ian Surtees 8. Tapiwa Tsomondo 7. Daniel Rorke 6. Lazarus Chisaya 5. Tinashe Gwenzi 4. Joshua Smallbones 3. Clive Musasiwa 2 Recce Surtees 1 Thabani Ndaba.