ZIMBABWE . . . . . . . . . .(15)15
KENYA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (24)61
THE Zimbabwe 15s rugby national team got their Africa Cup Division 1A campaign off to an uninspiring start when they suffered a disappointing 15-61 defeat at the hands of a merciless Kenyan side which exposed their lack of preparation and fitness.
BY KENNEDY NYAVAYA
It took Kenya a total of nine tries compared to the host’s two tries to upstage the Sables in front of a sizeable home crowd which thronged the Police Grounds.
The Sables’ shaky defence line proved detrimental in the first four minutes when the fullback Tangai Nemadire and wing Manasah Sita were caught napping in their own 22-yard box by Kenya’s fullback Tony Onyango.
Although Zimbabwe immediately responded with a Lenience Tambwera penalty conversion two minutes later, their comeback bid was dealt a huge blow when the captain Denford Mutamangira was sent off after he got injured in the 14th minute.
A second similar scrappy defence malfunction by the home fullback Nemadire resulted in a second try for the visitors before centre Boyd Rouse responded with a converted try for the Sables in the 27th minute.
Kenya then scored two more tries, with the Sables only managing one more try before the break.
The second half proved to be a dominant Kenyan show as they shut out a visibly tired Zimbabwean squad.
Every technical aspect seemed out of place for the Cyprian Mandenge-coached side which faltered in execution of their game plan, even basic passing rugby.
Kenya, who were out to set the record straight after back to back losses to Zimbabwe last year, looked more determined as they handed their opponents an embarrassing defeat.
Stand-in captain Jacques Leitao lamented the limited time the depleted Sables squad had to prepare for the match against Kenya, who came to Harare after two preparatory matches against Uganda and Brazil.
“I do not think it’s an issue of fitness, although we can improve on our physical fitness. Unfortunately, we are not spending much time together. When we go into camp for one week and we are expected to produce results, it is very difficult,” he said.
Yesterday’s defeat left the Sables needing a win against Uganda in Bulawayo on July 23 or face the prospect of being relegated to the second-tier Group 1B in 2017.