Down 17-39 at half-time, it seemed as if the Old Mutual U18 Young Sables were headed for an embarrassing defeat in their opening game against Eastern Province Country Districts but they dug their heels in during the second half and gave themselves a fighting chance on Monday morning in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.
Pacey wingers, Tawanda Ngosi and Brian Mhuriyengwe opened the try scoring for Zimbabwe close to the death of the first phase of play, quicly changing a 39-3 score to 39-17. The boys carried the momentum into the second half and gave the Zimbabwean supporters something to cheer for as they went about cutting their deficit.
Playing in his debut in national colors, Matthew Ushewokunze scored a brace while Ngosi also scored his second for the game after the break. Ushewokunze’s first try came off a clean pass from Falcon team mate and national captain, Stephen Bhasera inside the opposition 22m. The other try came from, Hillcrest Tinashe Gonese from a quickly taken panalty by Tarisai Mapfumo that caught Eastern Province sleeping.
Eastern Province CD was left exposed when lock, Cristoffel Viljoen was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on Mhuriyengwe with seven minutes left to play. Bhasera’s boys camped in Eastern Provinces CD’s half but failed to convert the territory to points ending the match 54-41.
Head coach, Godwin “Jaws” Murambiwa could not hide his disappointment after the match but was impressed by the way the boys responded to their half-time chat.
“We really late ourselves in the first 25 minutes as we let them score soft tries but in the second half the guys tackled and they worked hard to get themselves in the game,” Jaws told SSN in a post match interview. “It’s a young side but that is not an excuse, we have to come out and play on Wednesday” the former Sables coach continued.
Zimbabwe still await the announcement of the opponent and time of their Wednesday encounter.
Craven Week coverage brought to you by Old Mutual