The Young Sables failed to rewrite history on Saturday, going down 33-10 to Namibia in their final game at this year’s Craven Week at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, South Africa.
As was with their two previous games, Zimbabwe did not take much time to get on the scoreboard. A second minute penalty was converted by Brendon Mandivenga to put Zimbabwe three points ahead. From this moment going forward things took a turn for the worst. First to hurt Zimbabwean hearts was Justin Newman with his scorching run on the outside en route to score Namibia’s first try before Chris Aries extended Namibia’s lead with the conversion.
Aries put on more points on the board for Namibia with a well taken penalty from Zimbabwe’s 10-metre line. Another Newman try saw Zimbabwe trailing by 14 points with 17 minutes left to play before the break. Once again, Mandivenga was Zimbabwe’s hero when he scored the Young Sables’ sole try of the match which he converted as well to keep Zimbabwe in the game. At the death of the first-half Zimbabwe’s Ivan Bawden was sent to the sin-bin for a repeated offside infringement.
Zimbabwe captain Daniel Moolman had a chat with the referee, before heading to the change rooms at the interval, questioning some of his decisions which certainly seemed biased.
After the break Zimbabwe managed to put Namibia under immense pressure despite having one man short. All their efforts were stifled by poor or rather biased referring. IRB Law 10.2 requires the referee to award a penalty try should there be any unfair play that prevents a probable try. The law goes to say that the player involved should be cautioned or sent off temporarily. In one case of Zimbabwe the opposite happened when Tom Chadwick was tackled above the shoulder line barely a meter away from the try-line. Namibia escaped with no penalty try against them or even a warning for the dangerous play. Chadwick’s converted try would have leveled things up and set up an entertaining encounter.
Being mere schoolboys and not professional athletes, The Young Sables failed to handle the frustration and crumbled in the face of the inconsistent officiating.
Apart from the officiating, Zimbabwe’s backline struggled to find correct footing – literally – leading to a number of slips and falls in the backline. Notable ones include Rukudzo Gona, Tawanda Ngosi and Brendon Mandivenga during runs which might have resulted in game changing tries.
Zimbabwe finished sixth on the log out of the 20 teams that took part in the 50th edition of the Coca-Cola Craven Week. Mandivenga finished the week placed fourth on the top points scorers table with 48 points in three games.
Former Sables captain, Rocky Gurumani was at the Old Peter Mokaba stadium to rally behind the boys.
[button color=”green” size=”medium” link=”http://goo.gl/3HwtO” target=”blank” ]Craven Week Supporters Page[/button]