The Old Mutual U18 Young Sables opened their Craven Week campaign with a heartbreaking 17-12 loss to Griquas Country Districts at the Markotter Sports Complex in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
It was a tough fixture for the Zimbabweans given the size of the Griquas pack that bullied Godwin Murambiwa’s charges upfront, all morning and the cold-wet weather didn’t make it any better. It was six degrees in Stellenbosch as Griquas kicked off and the lads showed a lot of composure and grit as they pulled on the green and white with pride.
Ball possession was far and in between for the Old Mutual U18 Young Sables which meant they had to defend most of the time but they stepped up to the task and put in 140 tackles compared to their opposition’s 60.
The Young Sables enjoyed the lead for the greater part of the game only for Griquas Country Districts to score an equaliser with four minutes left to play and a winner two minutes later.
Playing at pivot, Benjamin Meredith was instrumental to the Young Sables attack and Griquas CD struggled to stop their attack. Meredith found an opening as the first half was coming to a close and dotted down under the posts to open Zimbabwe’s account before bisecting the uprights to extend Zimbabwe’s lead. Zimbabwe’s second try came off a Meredith grubber that was well collected by fullback, Tarisai Mapfumo to score in the corner.
Head coach Godwin “Jaws” Murambiwa lauded his boys for a good opener particularly in the defensive department and blamed the loss to a concentration lapse on the boys part in the closing five minutes. Zimbabwe will now regroup ahead of Thursday’s fixture which will be announced later today and keep their sights focused on the test against Namibia on Saturday.