Junior Sables power past hapless Ivory Coast to reach Barthes Trophy semis

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Zimbabwe progressed through to the semi-finals of the Rugby Africa Under-20 Barthes Trophy after hammering Ivory Coast in their quarterfinal match played at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi on Saturday.

The Junior Sables will now face Tunisia in the semi-finals after the North Africans upset Madagascar 50-16 in the third quarterfinal.

Hosts Kenya thumped their neighbours Uganda 44-20 in the final quarterfinal match and will face Namibia, who defeated Zambia 20-12 in an earlier last-eight encounter.

However, the biggest win of the day was achieved by Zimbabwe, who are seeking to successfully defend their continental title.

Heading into the game, Zimbabwe were overwhelming favourites after emerging champions in the same country last year and they did the tag justice by racing to a 31-0 lead by halftime on their way to an impressive victory.

The well-oiled Junior Sables were simply unstoppable against the shell-shocked Ivorians who offered very little resistance.

The Shaun de Souza-coached Junior Sables went on a rampage scoring nine unanswered tries while exciting flyhalf Brendan Marume managed five conversions.

Outside centre Dion Khumalo scored the game’s first try with Marume missing the ensuing conversion.

Blindside flank Tanaka Ndoro, inside centre Alex Nyamuda, and lock Allan Mawunga (2) then got Zimbabwe’s first half tries with Marume managing three conversions.

Despite losing their rhythm after the break, Zimbabwe were still impressive as they added further tries from open-side flank Muzuva Gutu, winger Simbarashe Kanyangarara, fullback Benoni Nhekairo as well as replacement scrumhalf Shadreck Mandaza after the break.

Zimbabwe coach De Souza was pleased with his team’s overall performance as they began their campaign with a victory but admitted that they need to polish up on a few areas ahead of their semi-final clash against Tunisia on Wednesday.

“It was what we expected,” Zimbabwe head coach De Souza said after the match.

“We knew that Côte d’Ivoire would not be as strong, as fluent as they looked. So our key focus was to manage our set-pieces and focus on our line-outs and scrummaging, which we dominated.

“We struggled a bit earlier in the game with the wet ball, with a few unforced errors in contact, but we rectified that as the sun came out. I think the boys look good, we had very good positives in attack. There are a few areas which we need to polish up in defence. Although Ivory Coast didn’t score any points, there are a few areas in our defensive system that we need to polish up. We will do our game review this afternoon and have a team meeting this evening building into the next stage of the tournament,” added the Young Sables coach.

 

 

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