Zimbabwe U-20 . . . . . (6)22
Uruguay U-20 . . . . . . (36)50
ZIMBABWE’S Under-20 rugby team put up a spirited second half performance to add some respectability to the scoreline as they succumbed to a 22-50 defeat to Uruguay at the ongoing World Rugby Under-20 Trophy competition at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The defeat virtually ended Zimbabwe’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s World Rugby Under-20 Championships.
Both teams came into this match after suffering defeats in their opening round of the competition, but the momentum was with the Uruguayans who had come agonisingly close to upstaging Fiji in their first match.
The Old Mutual-sponsored Young Sables got off to a slow start as they failed to get the grip of the ball, conceding five tries in the first half.
Uruguay came out firing, with centre Iñaki Ormaechea going over twice inside the first half hour before further tries by wing Martin Fitipaldo and flyhalf Felipe Etcheverry, brother to Rugby World Cup player Jeronimo, in a dominant first half display.
The South American Under-19 champions also managed a penalty try by number eight Santiago Civetta, while Zimbabwe were only able to respond with a solitary try by impressive number Aiden Burnett, as they went to the breather trailing 36-6.
In the second half the Young Sables emerged with more purpose as they were able to outscore their opponents with two tries by fullback Tarisai Mapfumo and flyhalf Shingi Katsvere slotting over the conversions.
However, after getting to within 14 points of Uruguay, the Young Sables coughed up possession and were made to pay as Uruguay had the final say with two tries late in the second half from Fitipaldo and hooker Yamandu Arburuas.
The Young Sables, who suffered a morale-sapping 24-54 defeat to Samoa on the opening day, will now be desperate to finish the pool stages on a high when they face Fiji in their final Pool A match on Wednesday.
In other results yesterday, pre-tournament favourites Samoa maintained their perfect record with a 32-8 win over fellow Pacific Islanders Fiji while African Under-19 champions Namibia lost 40-22 to Spain.