Burkina Faso…………………………(5) 5
NEW Zealand-based rugby star Brandon Mudzekenyedzi completed a memorable week by running in four brilliant tries as the Sables came within just a try of reaching a century for their second consecutive match win against minnows Burkina Faso at Old Georgians Sports Club yesterday.
The 24-year-old utility back, who has been in devastating form during the two-match series, put on another standout display with a brilliant four try-fest to show his versatility after being moved from inside centre to right wing.
Zimbabwe’s silky back-line was unstoppable in attack with left wing Matthew MacNab also starring with a memorable hatrick while flank Tonderai Chiwambutsa crossed the whitewash twice.
The hosts’ other five pointers came from Takudzwa Chieza, Aiden Burnett, David Makamba, Sebastian Roche and stand-in campaigner Brandon Mandivenga.
South-Africa-based flyhalf Dudley White-Sharply, who started ahead of the injured skipper Hilton Mudariki, was mercurial.
Flank Tonderai Chiwambutsa also managed a brace of tries while the other five pointers came from Matthew McNab, Takudzwa Chieza, and Aiden Burnett
Scrum-half Dudley White-Sharply was impressive from the kicking tee after converting 11 of the 14 tries while also slotting over a first half penalty.
After being blanked in the first match Burkina Faso finally scored their first match of the series through flank Amadou Ouattara late in the first half.
Despite the big wins, Sables head coach Brendan Dawson, who had demanded a clinical performance was not impressed with his team’s overall performance and believes his charges need more competitive matches in order to improve.
“Obviously we still have a lot of work to do; when you camp for over six weeks without playing games it is going to be a problem. The only way you are going to get better is by playing games and we were not able to do that because of this Covid-19 scenario. Hopefully after these matches we are going to get some more game time and that way we will improve,” he said after the match.
Playing in an unfamiliar red jersey following a clash of colours with their opponents, as expected the Sables were fastest out of the blocks as they initially scored six unanswered tries before Burkina Faso responded with a try of their own just before halftime.
After a sluggish finish to the half, the Sables upped the tempo in the second half and the Stallions had no solution as Zimbabwe went on to score almost every time that they ran at their opponents.
The Sables now progress to next year’s quarterfinals where they will face another West African side in Ivory Coast who pulled a shocker in pool A when they defeated Namibia.
After finishing second in Pool D due to Tunisia’s withdrawal, Burkina Faso will play Namibia in the last eight.
If they win their quarterfinal matches, Zimbabwe and Namibia will meet in the semifinals of next year’s Rugby Africa Cup.
Winners of next year’s Rugby Africa Cup will automatically qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.