BY SPORTS REPORTER
Zimbabwe… (17) 30
Kenya……….. (17) 29
The Sables finally ended their four year losing streak against Kenya when they narrowly beat the Simbas 30-29 in a tightly contested encounter at Hartsfield Rugby Grounds yesterday to remain unbeaten in the Victoria Cup.
Captain Hilton Mudariki’s penalty conversion a few minutes before full-time gave Zimbabwe the lead, which they held onto until the end to register their third
win on the trot following victories over Zambia and Uganda.
Victory was not easily handed down to the home side as the Simbas fought hard, by half time the score was tied at 17-17.
The pendulum kept swinging both ways, moments before the final whistle Kenya led 29-27 before Mudariki’s penalty gave Zimbabwe the much-needed one point, which
they held on to dear life till the end.
The Sables, who had lost their last three encounters against Kenya since beating them in 2015, needed tries from fullback Shingirai Katsvere, prop David
Makanda and flank Biselele Tshamala with Mudariki landing 15 points off the tee.
In reply, Kenya got their tries through a brace from Munate Akuei in addition to further tries from Anthony Odhiambo, Elkeans Musonye and Johnstone Mungau,
while Jacob Ojee managed two conversions.
Sables coach Brendan Dawson was ecstatic saying the win had lifted a huge weight off his shoulders.
“It’s a big relief; I had a lot of weight on my shoulders. It’s a great one. I am really chuffed to have won that game. At half time when we were at par I told
the boys to go in there and play their game and stick to our patterns and strategies on what we wanted to do. We were sort of falling into their patterns and
what they were trying to dictate in their defence,” Dawson said.
Kenyan coach Paul Odore said the Sables played a fantastic game of rugby and his side was punished for not taking their chances.
“First and foremost, congratulations to Zimbabwe for a fantastic game of rugby,” Odore said.
“This win means a lot not just for them but for the people of Bulawayo.
“This is always a good place to come and play rugby, this was a true test match. It was a game that could have gone either way.
“Your kicker [Mudariki] was at the top of his game but those are the lessons that you learn from test matches and if you don’t take your points you do pay the
price. It was a fantastic game of rugby.”
Zimbabwe will next be in action on August 24 when they host Uganda in Harare.