ZIMBABWE sailed through to the second round of the on-going Paramount Garments Rugby Africa Men's Sevens tournament with a blistering 35-5 win against a seasoned Ugandan side in their third and final group game at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
The win put Zimbabwe within reach of the final as they can avoid a semi-final berth against the high riding South Africa Blitzboks.
They now take on Madagascar in the quarterfinals this morning and Kenya in the semis should they beat Madagascar.
Cheetahs head coach Ricky Chirengende said the boys stuck to the game plan and made sure they reached their target.
"The target for day one was to go through to the next round and even better, now we make it through topping the group and obviously if we play our cards right we have a very good pathway to get into the final," Chirengende told Standard Sport.
"The first game that we drew I think it was just skill and execution errors and we just spoke about managing the small micro-skills and making sure that we are perfect at those and I think that's what happened in this game. We controlled the game from start to finish."
The Lady Chevrons spent the greater part of the day at the ground supporting the Cheetahs. Also present at the event was the Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) high level delegation comprising its chairperson, Gerald Mlotshwa and the director general Eltah Nengomasha.
Ryan Musumhi was the star of the show against Uganda with 11 points, a try and three conversions as Zimbabwe scored five tries converting all.
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The Cheetahs went to half time leading 14–0 thanks to tries from Tapiwa Matoramusha and Tapiwa Mafura both being converted by Musumhi.
Uganda, however, put the game in a delicate position for the Cheetahs as they went over the whitewash soon after the breather but failed to convert to take the score to 14-5.
But Zimbabwe were not done yet as they responded in a huff with a try from Brandon Mudekenyedzi and Musumhi making his final conversing count.
Musumhi got a try of his own with the team captain, Godfrey Magaramombe doing the same. Both tries were duly converted by Shadrack Mandaza as Zimbabwe completed a memorable victory over Uganda.
At the terraces it was a battle of voices between the Zimbabwe supporters and their Ugandan counterparts and that battle went the home supporters’ way.
Uganda were forced to mute their song, Umchere Unyama, loosely translated to enjoying rice and meat as Zimbabwe went on a rampage supposedly enjoying the Ugandan relish.
The Cheetahs got off to an uninspiring 12-12 draw against Burkina Faso in the opening match of the tournament. Although they fought back from a 0-12 deficit at half time, the Cheetahs were wasteful by their own standard, twice failing to go over the whitewash in the dying stages when it looked more difficult to miss than score.
The second match saw a determined Cheetahs thrash Algeria 47–5.
Faced with a mountain to climb against Uganda in their final pool match or fall into an awaiting raging Blitzboks fire, the Zimbabweans chose the former as they beat Uganda in a Pool C top-of-the-table clash.