Junior Sables hold off rivals Namibia to setup Barthes Trophy final showdown with Kenya

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Zimbabwe edged closer towards clinching a third successive Rugby Africa Under-20 Barthes Trophy title following a hard-fought 35-23 victory over their rivals Namibia at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.

The Junior Sables will now meet Kenya in the deciding encounter at Harare Sports Club on Saturday with the winner guaranteed a place at this year’s World Rugby Under-20 Trophy to be played in Scotland.

Kenya also made it two wins from their opening two matches after a dominant 56-17 victory against Tunisia in an earlier match at the same venue.

The Junior Sables kicked off their campaign with a 46-21 victory against Tunisia at the same venue last Saturday.

Namibia, who were desperate to bounce back from an opening day loss against Kenya, started the match strongly and struck first with a try in the corner by full back Liam Dick, taking an early 5-0 lead.

The hosts however, quickly responded emphatically through a superb try from towering lock Thabani Ndlovu before co-skipper Benoni Nhekairo slotted home the conversion to give the Junior Sables a 14-5 advantage.

Rising star Edward Sigauke once again showed his class with brilliant solo try after a quick tap penalty to extend Zimbabwe’s lead.

Namibia moved within three points of the hosts following a penalty goal from flyhalf Petrus Tromp which made it 14-11 but Nhekairo responded with a penalty of his own to make it 17-11 at halftime.

Zimbabwe landed the first blow after the break through a converted try by loosehead prop Emmanuel Gabi but Namibia fought back through winger Jurgen Meyer’s try to take the score to 24-18.

The Junior Sables extended their lead through an unconverted try from winger Shammah Jackson but they were pegged back again as the visitors scored another try to reduce the gap to 29-23.

With Namibia looking to wrestled back the initiative, Zimbabwe held their nerve to secure another big win with two late penalties from Wayne Kunaka and Tinotenda Rusike.

 

 

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