A Will Bailey try scored with only seven minutes left on the clock in the Zimbabwe U19’s 17-13 loss against the British Lambs on Friday sank Zimbabwean hearts but at the same time rounded off a perfect tour for the Lambs.
The encounter did not kick off at 4pm as expected due to the late arrival of the ambulance. As a safety precaution the referees could not start the match in the absence of emergency medical services.
Jabulani Mutukwa opened the scoring for Zimbabwe through the boot from a penalty just beyond the 22m and 5m. Both teams were cautious in attack but excellent in defence keeping the scoring at a minimum. Going into the half-time break the scoreboard was stuck at 6-5 with the hosts ahead.
A Thabani Mujeni try scored after the break gave Zimbabwe a bit of control but the Lambs kept on piling pressure and managed to pull one back to keep themselves in contention with the scores at 13-10 with the hosts still ahead.
The moment that stunned Zimbabwe came during the sixty third minute of the game when winger, Will Bailey was at the end of a well executed backline move that left the Zimbabwean defence dazzled. Bailey latched onto the ball just outside Zimbabwe’s 22m and stepped on the gas, dancing his way through Zimbabwe’s backs en route to score the all important try for the British Lambs. The conversion was true, extending the lead to 17-13 and seven minutes was not much for the Lambs to hold on.
Despite the obvious sad look on the face of Nsikelelo Sibanda, Zimbabwe’s coach said that, “This was a good chance to assess our standing as we prepare for the Junior World Rugby Trophy qualifiers scheduled for later this year, the boys played well.” If you look at the result from the coach’s perspective you’ll find that the boys played really well. The boys had less than a week to train and come up with a team that would play against a select side on a post season tour in their pre-season.
Lambs manager, Alex Laybourne expressed immense gratitude to the warm welcome that his team received while in Zimbabwe. The heartbreaker, Will Bailey had nothing but praise to shower the opposition after the match, “They played really well, living up to their reputation they play like us, fast and free and their defensive structures were excellent.”
Zimbabwe’s sole try scorer on Friday, Mujeni believes they have a good team and can go on and qualify for the JWRT in Namibia.
Friday’s victory brought to an end to what was a successful tour for the British Lambs. They won all their four matches on Harare soil, 76-0 against Mbare Academy, 26-6 against Prince Edward, 81-15 against the Goshawks and finally 17-13 against Zimbabwe U19.