The hosts of the 50th edition of the Coca Cola Craven Week – the Limpopo Blue Bulls – suffered a huge defeat at the hands of a determined Zimbabwe Young Sables side going down 43-5 in their own backyard at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, South Africa.
With the win Zimbabwe have ended a jinx that had plagued their team in past two editions of the prestigious schoolboy rugby tourney. The 2011 squad, captained by Gareth Miekle, lost 81-7 while Leeroy Sibanda’s squad of 2012 lost 64-21 to the Limpopo Blue Bulls.
Zimbabwe struggled to find their rhythm in the first 15 minutes of the game. A penalty that had been sent over in the second minute gave Zimbabwe everything to defend. A solid six phase play led to the penalty straight from the kick-off. Captain Daniel Moolman was eager to get points on the board and went for posts through the boot of utility back, Brendon Mandivenga.
The technical team’s work on defence bore fruits as Zimbabwe managed to keep the Blue Bulls at bay, even though the hosts camped in Zimbabwe’s 22 for over 12 minutes in the first half. The loose trio made up of Ivan Bawden, Nick Burnet and Moolman was key and defence as they kept fronting and shutting down the hosts’ attack.
Theodorus Maree was handed a chance to level things up but pulled a seater of a penalty wide to keep Zimbabwe in the lead. Man-of-the-match, Tawanda Ngosi, scored Zimbabwe’s first try when he latched on to a loose ball that Limpopo Blue Bulls had failed to gather off an Andrew Dollar box kick. With so much pace to spare, a 20-metre run to score next to the upright was not too much to ask for, and he did just that. Mandivenga’s conversion pushed Zimbabwe 10 points clear of Limpopo Blue Bulls’ zero with nine minutes left to play before the break. To conclude the first interval, the massive Stephen Bhasera beautifully controlled a maul from a line-out on the 22-metre line that saw Moolman going over the white wash for a try from the base of the maul.
Just as the match had begun, the second-half started slow as the teams camped in midfield, but Brandon Boshi had some gas to burn in the 49th minute. A well-timed pop pass from Mandivenga put Boshi in space and he sped home staying on the fringes of the field through out the duration of his 60 metre dash. A missed Mandivenga penalty in the 52nd minute kept hopes of a comeback alive for the Limpopo Blue Bulls, but the Peterhouse Boys’ student paid for his mistakes with a converted try five minutes later. With this try Mandivenga brought Zimbabwe up to 29 against Limpopo Blue Bulls’ zero.
Jabulani Mutukwa was good under the high ball and managed to punish Limpopo Blue Bulls when he gathered one Andries Bruwer’s kick on the 5-metre line and danced his way clear of the on-coming defence. Mutukwa took the short route home sprinting over 80 metres straight down the line in about nine seconds only to take a detour after going over the try-line to score under the posts. With the scoreboard reading 36-0 to Zimbabwe, a contigent of Zimbabwean parents that travelled to watch the lads play broke into song. The song they sang – “Yave Nyama Yekugocha (Roasting Meat)” – was ironic to what was happening on the park as the Limpopo Blue Bulls were feeling the heat.
Earning his first cap for Zimbabwe, Tanaka Chikwezvero scored Zimbabwe’s last try with only three minutes left on the clock shortly after a failed drop goal attempt by Mandivenga. The conversion brought Zimbabwe’s total to 43. Saudvandre Rolls dotted down a consolation try for the hosts in the corner, but Marre’s conversion was off, allowing the Zimbabwe Young Sables to register a massive 43-5 final score against a team that managed to humilliate them in the past two years.
The Young Sables were impressive as they managed to keep their structures and play as a unit despite seven changes. “The boys are really talented, they stuck together as if we had not changed a thing,” assistant coach Brandon Brider told frontrowzim.com after the massive victory. Team manager, Tungamirai Mashungu made only one tactical change during the encounter when Philangezwi Mudambanuki came on for Nicholas Burnet in the second interval of play.
Limpopo Blue Bulls 1st XV: 1. Kgetho Malesela Emmanuel Mabokela 2. Mohlanye Kleinboy Mmitji Mametsa 3. Henton Minnaar 4. Nico Bezuidenhout 5. Christopher Durow 6. Mosesile Mahlo 7. Richard Jady Coetzee 8. Mlungisi Floyd Ntimane 9. Theodorus Daniel Maree 10. Andries Abraham Bosman Bruwer 11. Saudevandre A. Rolls 12. Matjikinyane Molapo 13. Adrian Maebane (Captain) 14. Arno Marinus van Staden 15. Surprise Ngaka Mathabela
Zimbabwe Young Sables 1st XV: 1. Stephen Bhasera 2. Thabani Kundai Mujeni 3. Tanaka Chikwezvero 4. Glynne Rorke 5. Tinashe Gonese 6. Daniel Moolman 7. Nicholas Burnett 8. Ivan Bawden 9. Andrew Dollar 10. Rukudzo Gona 11. Tawanda Ngosi 12. Justin Zietsman 13. Brendon Mandivenga 14. Brandon Boshi 15. Jabulani Mutukwa
Image Credits: Luke Walker/Gallo Images
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