BY DANIEL NHAKANISO IN CAPE TOWN
Zimbabwe Goshawks….. (13) 16
THE Zimbabwe Goshawks ended their 12-week tour of South Africa on a losing note after going down to the Johannesburg-based side Valke in their final match of the 2022 Currie Cup First Division in very windy conditions at Wynberg Boys’ High School here yesterday.
To add to the Zimbabwean outfit’s worries, exciting teenage fullback Brendon Marume suffered an ankle injury early in the game, joining a very long list of injured players as the country braces for next month’s World Cup qualifier at the 2022 Rugby Africa Cup in France.
The Goshawks got off to a very shaky start as they conceded two early tries through hooker Raynardt Nel and winger Valentino Wellman, while flyhalf Ruben Liebenberg added the extras.
After failing to utilise the advantage of playing with the wind early on, the Zimbabwe Goshawks finally came good as they led 13-12 at the break through two penalties by skipper Hilton Mudariki and a converted try by hooker Liam Larkan.
In fact Zimbabwe could have further stretched their lead before the break, but were unable to utilise their chances.
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In the second half Mudariki missed a penalty conversion for the Goshawks while kicking against the strong wind before Valke responded by, reclaiming the lead courtesy of a penalty try in the 66th minute for an infringement on their driving maul.
It remained a three point game when Mudariki converted a close range penalty in the 73rd minute to take the score to 16-19.
However, Valke finished the match strongly as Valentino completed his brace of tries in the final moments of the game before Liebenberg slotted home the conversion to all but end the Goshawks’ hopes of a winning finish.
Yesterday’s result was the Zimbabwe Goshawks’ fourth successive loss as they finished their maiden season in the Currie Cup First Division with three wins and six loses.
Despite finishing the campaign on a losing note Zimbabwe captain Mudariki says he was encouraged by the team’s performance after a difficult run of matches over the last three weeks.
“Going into the game, we worked on the process that we wanted to follow and I feel like we achieved that today. Yes we didn’t get the result we wanted I feel very positive today than the last three weeks that we’ve had,” Mudariki said.
Meanwhile the Sables technical team headed by Brendan Dawson announced a 31-man squad ahead of the final phase of preparations for their Rugby Africa Cup quarterfinal match against Ivory Coast on July 2.
The Zimbabwe squad has been ravaged by injuries with several players such as Farai Mudariki, Michael Kumbirai, Tavonga Ablan, Blithe Mavesere, Andrew Evans (injured), and Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa all missing out due to injuries.
There are also no places in the squad for South Africa-based flyhalf Keith Chiwara, New Zealand-based prop Doug Juszczyk and centre Brendon Mudzekenyedzi, utility back Brendon Mandivenga and Australia-based flank Connor Pritchard.
Pumas fullback Tapiwa Mafura is expected to join the squad before their departure for France on Monday while the Europe-based trio of Ngoni Chibuwe, Jason Fraser, Royal Mwale and Tapia Tsomondo will meet up with the team in Paris.
The Sables will wind up their preparations for the World Cup qualifiers by playing Netherlands in a high profile Test match in Amsterdam on June 25.
Sables Final Squad:
- Tyran Fagan, Victor Mupunga, Gabriel Sipapate, Cleopas Kundiona, Matthew Mandiona, Bornwell Gwinji, Liam Larkan, Royal Mwale, Godfrey Munzanargwo, Goodwin Mangenje, Sean Beevor, Biselele Tshamala, Kelvin Kanenungo, Johan Du Preez, Nyasha Tarusenga, Aiden Burnett, Jason Fraser, Tapiwa Tsomondo, Hilton Mudariki, Kyle Galloway, Takudzwa Musingwini, Takudzwa Chieza, Riaan O’Niel, Marcus Nel, Tapiwa Mafura, Matthew McNab, Shingi Katsvere, Brendon Marume, Shayne Makombe, Ngoni Chibuwe, Martin Mangongo