Harare Sports Club coach Tafadzwa Mhende has lauded his side’s character after they capped off a very successful tour of Zambia by winning the Independence Rugby 7s Challenge in Lusaka at the weekend.
Sportivo outclassed Zambian side Buffaloes 29-10 in the Cup final at the Lusaka Showgrounds to be crowned the winners of the tournament which featured clubs from the host nation, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
It was a sweet consolation for Harare Sports Club, as they made amends after recently finishing third in the Paramount Garments Sevens which was won by their rivals Old Georgians.
“We were very excited to get the invite for the Zambia Independence Rugby 7s Challenge because the guys had been winning most of their games locally and we just wanted to test ourselves against different opposition in an international competition. I think the victory solidified the position and the boys were very excited,” Mhende said in an interview with ZimSportLive.
The former Cheetahs livewire backliner was impressed by how his side which had a nice blend of young talent and experienced players improved with each outing in the one-day competition on their way to clinching the coveted title.
“The team played very well against very good teams throughout the competition. As can be expected in any tournament they started slowly in the first game against Diggers, who are coached by one of our own, the former Cheetahs player Stephan Hunduza.
“We managed to beat them 33-5 but the game’s intensity was low. In our second game, we played against Beavers, which is the second team of Red Arrows and we beat them 17-0 in what was a very good game because the intensity was high and the guys managed to defend very well in that game. We then proceeded to the Cup qualifier against Leopards and that is where Id say I was very proud of the boys because they were fatigued but they managed to hold their own,” he said.
Mhende said his charges put in their best performance of the competition in the Cup semis against Red Arrows Rugby Club, who were the overwhelming favourites after they had knocked out a very strong Spartans side made up of very talented Zimbabwean players based in Botswana.
“Our Cup semi-final against Red Arrows was the final before the final because they were the favourites to lift the Cup as they had beaten Spartans in the group stages. They (Red Arrows) thought they were going to win the tournament but the boys showed a lot of character and we won 17-5. The final was a good game but I believe all the hard work had been done in the semi-final and the guys were on fire. They had a very strong belief that they were going to win and it showed in the intensity during play which was also reflected in the result as we won 29-10,” Mhende added.
Meanwhile, the action on the domestic scene will continue with the second and final leg of the Engen 7s series Powered by Black Box at Old Georgians Sports Club on Saturday.
The Sable Chickens Summer Series has been slated for November 12 at Harare Sports Club, before the big one, the Zambezi Sevens Challenge to be played at the same venue a week later.
HSC Squad for Zambia tour: Godfrey Magaramombe, McLean Muhambi, Takudzwa Francisco (vice-captain), Beadsley Mabenge, Tevin Ganya, Alex Nyamunda, Hagler Muchenje, Nigel Tinarwo, Zephaniah Nkomo, Prince Ncube, Valentine Jailos, Tadius Dzandiwandira (captain), Russell Dodo