ZIMBABWE’S Sables managed to complete a double over visiting Burkina Faso after they walloped them 95-5 in the second match of the Rugby Pool D match at Old Georgians Sports Club yesterday.
The Sables will now play Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals of the Rugby Africa Cup early next year. Both sides managed to qualify for the next round where Burkina Faso will face another tough task against Namibia in the knockout phase of the tournament, which will double as the final phase of qualification for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Sables coach Brendan Dawson had the guts to introduce fresh legs who sat out duty four days ago as he had nine changes to the team that beat the same side 101-03 in the first match on Sunday.
Zimbabwe was handed a major boost in their attempt to qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France after they were confirmed earlier as the hosts after Tunisia withdrew not only from hosting the tournament but also as participants after an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
The rescheduled fixtures gave the higher-ranked Zimbabwe side an even better advantage of playing at their own background.
Burkina Faso coach Ouedraogo Cheick Hamidou said they had an improvement and playing against Zimbabwe gave them some lessons which they will use to their advantage.
“On Sunday the game was not good but we are happy that we managed to give a fight although Zimbabwe did not give us much chance. We managed to keep on pressing on and now we going back and work on our techniques as a young team… We need more time to prepare for the next assignments. We are going to regroup and make sure we have some of our players who missed out for the next group match,” said Hamidou.
Brendon Mandireva, the stand-in Zimbabwe captain, in the absence of Hilton Mudariki due to an injury, said it was great to be back and lead the boys to a victory.
“I am very happy that I am back and being the captain of a winning team it is exciting. I think we need to remain focused and look forward to the next match,” said Mandireva.
Sables coach Dawson believes there is still a lot of work to be done as they were not more clinical.
“It was tough being in camp for six weeks without playing a game. It is difficult because of the pandemic but we managed and we need to be more clinical upfront. We had some splendid tries and I think we will continue with the good form,” said Dawson.
Unlike other Rugby Africa Cup pools which have three teams, Pool D was reduced to just two teams following the withdrawal of Tunisia as both hosts and participants in the competition due to a spike in Covid-19 cases in the North African country.
The Rugby Africa Cup is an annual rugby union tournament involving African nations, organised by Rugby Africa. The tournament was first held in 2000 and has since been contested on an annual basis.
This year the top 14 teams based on the African ranking will compete in a single coordinated competition until the last two face each other in the final in 2022.