NAIROBI – Defending champions Zimbabwe hammered miserable Côte d’Ivoire 55-0 in their first match of the Rugby Under-20 Africa Cup in Kenyan capital Nairobi in a strong statement of intent on Saturday morning.

The Young Sables emerged champions in the same country last year and success again this time around will see them book a berth at the World Rugby Junior Trophy in July.

“It was what we expected,” Zimbabwe head coach Shaun De Souza told Zimbabwe’s rugby Press corps from Nairobi.

“We knew that Côte d’Ivoire would not be as strong, as fluent as they looked. So ja, our key focus was to manage our set-pieces, focus on our line-outs, focus on our scrummaging, which we dominated. We struggled a bit earlier in the game with the wet ball, with a bit of 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. We are likely to play between Tunisia and Madagascar. We will watch the game later this afternoon, assess and stratergise on our way forward in the semi-finals.”

With the Ivorians showing little resistance against a smaller but enterprising Zimbabwe side, De Souza’s young charges went on a rampage from the word go with tries from double scoring inside-centre Alex Nyamunda, lock Allan Mawunga, blind-side flank Tanaka Ndoro, open-side flank Muzuva Gutu, winger Simbarashe Kanyangarara, outside-centre Dion Khumalo, fullback Benoni Nhekairo as well as replacement scrumhalf Shadrick Mandaza.

Flyhalf Brendon Marume converted five of the tries.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here