De Souza expecting tough test against Namibia in Barthes Trophy final

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Junior Sables head coach Shaun De Souza

Zimbabwe Under-20 rugby team coach Shaun De Souza is anticipating a tough battle when his side battles against their old foes Namibia in the final of the Rugby Africa Under-20 Barthes Trophy at the Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi on Sunday.

The Young Sables put on a dominant performance to secure their spot in the final following a 32-3 win against Madagascar on Wednesday.

The win meant the Takudzwa Msungwini captained side booked a date against Namibia who had earlier on seen off hosts Kenya 16-5 in the other semi-final.

After winning their first two matches in the competition against Tunisia and Madagascar De Souza is anticipating a tougher encounter against the Namibians.

“It won’t be easy, they are a more structured team, it’s going to be a tough game, our guys have to be at their best. We’ve got our strengths, the Namibians, you can identify their key elements, if we can defuse their key players and get our defensive system in place then we can win,’’ De Souza said.

Young Sables’ victory in the semi-final came at the expense of their vice-captain Tawanda Matipano who was red-carded for rough play which means he will be unavailable for selection for the final.

De Souza however believes he has enough depth in his squad to fill the void which will be left by the Goshawks trialist.

“That’s a blow as a vice-captain. I’m sure he regrets his actions. The rough play from Madagascar got the better of him. We did travel with 25 players so we have plans for these ‘what ifs’ eventualities. We will have a full arsenal ready for Sunday’s final I can assure you” said the under-20 team coach Shaun De Souza.

After their win on Wednesday, the Young Sables had a rest day on Thursday, which gave them an opportunity to review their own match as well as have a look at how Namibia played against Kenya.

They return to training on Friday and Saturday ahead of Sunday’s final.

A lot will be at stake in the final as the winners of the Rugby Africa Under-20 Barthes Trophy will qualify for next year’s World Rugby Junior World Rugby Trophy.

Meanwhile loose forward Tanaka Gondomukandapi will head into the final as the joint leading try scorer in the Under-20 Barthes Trophy alongside Namibia’s Geraldo Beukes.

The Young Sables owe their success in the competition to Gondomukandapi after his last gasp try in the quarterfinal encounter against Tunisia rescued them from an early exit in the competition.

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