De Souza delights in famous win

Zimbabwe U20 rugby team coach Shaun De Souza

Zimbabwe U20 rugby team coach Shaun De Souza has hailed his players after they delivered a superb show during their impressive 38-37 win over USA at the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The win was of massive significance for Zimbabwe as it was the country’s first World Rugby U20 Trophy victory since 2012 when they beat Russia 22-10, ironically, in the United States while overall it was only their third at that level.

More significantly in the on-going tournament, the victory meant the Junior Sables secured third place in Pool A and can finish in fifth position with a victory against hosts Kenya in the playoff match on Sunday.

Junior Sables head coach De Souza, who made a host of changes to his squad ahead of the match against USA was elated by the victory, which will go a long way to atone for the loses against Scotland and Uruguay earlier in the competition.

“We are definitely excited about the win. We have never won against the US so it’s a brilliant win for Zimbabwe, a third world country beating a first world country, what a feeling for the boys. The boys are so excited and we will take it from here as we go to the next step, which is a fifth place playoff on Sunday,” said De Souza.

“There was a plan to the wholesale changes I made in the starting line-up, I needed to get the guys that had not played any games in the tournament to get a run and give it their all in the first 40 (minutes) and just keep the scoreboard ticking,” said De Souza.

“Today we played a different style of game, itis something that we have in our arsenal. During our camp we had a kicking coach coming in and just working on our kicking and I think today it paid dividends,” he added.

Simbarashe Kanyangarara dives under the posts to score Zimbabwe’s opening try during their World Rugby U20 Trophy Pool A match against USA at the Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi on Tuesday

Zimbabwe’s win did not come easily as they had to come from behind after tries from Hayden Mckay and John Wilson – both converted by flyhalf Oliver Cline – saw the Americans surge to a 14-nil lead inside the first 20 minutes of the game.

However, De Souza’s men responded with a well worked try under the posts from Simbarashe Kanyangarara while Benoni Nhekairo chipped in with three penalties and a conversion to ensure Zimbabwe led 16-14 at the break.

The USA started the second half like they did in the first stanza, as Cline slotted home three penalties while converting tries from Mckay and Rand Santos to take a commanding 30-19 lead.

Zimbabwe however simply refused to give up and a late blitz saw replacement Brendan Marume score a brace, while Shadreck Mandaza added another.

Nhekairo added another penalty and conversion, while Mandaza put the exclamation point on the victory when he converted his own try.

Zimbabwe are now set to play hosts Kenya in the fifth and sixth play-off on Sunday, but both nations are assured of yet another dance in the second-tier competition next year.



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