Zimbabwe Captain Connor Pritchard says he is confident his charges can finally break the jinx of losing to Namibia when the two teams meet in the Under-19 Rugby Africa Cup Group 1A Tournament final at St Georges College on Saturday (29 August 2015).
Pritchard, who led the Young Sables to a 25-17 semifinal win over Kenya on Wednesday said they have what it takes to go all the way and qualify for their first Junior World Rugby Trophy since the 2012 edition held in the USA: “We have something to prove against Namibia, and the win (against Kenya) gives us a lot of confidence that we can beat them,” said the Falcon College flanker.
Zimbabwe have not beaten the Namibians at Under-19 level since winning the Junior Africa Cup in 2011. Under the coaching of Brighton Chivandire in 2011, the Young Sables beat Namibia 29-17 at Prince Edward School to win the continental title. Namibia have instead dominated Zimbabwean rugby teams in recent years from the age grade junior sides right to the senior national team, the Sables, including at Craven Week competitions held annually in South Africa.
While the title has eluded the Young Sables in recent years Pritchard believes 2015 could be year they end the disappointing barren run. The skipper said the way Namibia initially struggled to stamp their authority during their 49-12 win over Uganda had given them confidence that they can match them. “After watching Namibia against Uganda there’s no doubt that we can be competitive against them, let alone beat them. The boys are very excited and amped up to play against them and hopefully we can come up with a win,” said Pritchard.
Saturday’s much awaited final is expected to bring the curtain down to what has been another exciting edition of the Under-19 Rugby Africa Cup Group 1A Tournament.
While Zimbabwe and Namibia will battle it out for top honors, East African rivals Kenya and Uganda will first clash in the relegation match to decide which team is relegated to their second tier group.