HARARE – Kenyan president William Ruto is expected to attend the Under-20 Rugby Africa Cup final between his country and Zimbabwe on Sunday afternoon, but the red-hot southern Africans’ head coach Shaun De Souza has plans to upset the hosts in front of a big crowd at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.

Both teams in the final of the Barthes Trophy have already qualified for the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy, to be hosted by Kenya again in July.

But there is all to play for in today’s match: Tournament host Kenya – to win the cup in front of a partisan home crowd that will include the head-of-state – and Zimbabwe, to successfully defend the title they won last year.

“We had a plan as we came into this event, which we are now left with the last hurdle, the final,” De Souza told SportsCast from Nairobi on Saturday.

“We have qualified the Junior World Trophy, that was one of the tasks at hand, which relieves pressure somewhat as now we are just focusing on retaining our title and go on a back-back championship in the Barths.”

Zimbabwe, who have been in ruthless form in the tournament, reached the final after demolishing Tunisia 66-6, whilst Kenya laboured to a 24-13 win over Namibia in the other semi-final.

Against this background, the Young Sables will be favourites to make it two in a row in the Barthes Trophy, but De Souza is well aware of Kenya’s threat, especially in the set-pieces and in the physical contest.

“We’ve put in a good game plan to try and counter the Kenyans,” commented De Souza. “We know that they are going to come physical, they are going to come hard. We just need to watch their off-side lines. We reviewed their game against Namibia, they were off-side a lot of the time – hopefully we will try and get the referee to control that. Ja, they have a good kicking game, we will try retain them and see how we can counter the kicking game. They have a solid scrum, we will see how we can counter their scrum and see how we can also defuse them in the line-outs. So it will be a good contest, we will go out there and play Test rugby. It is a final, even if we win by one point, we will be happy with that, we will take it. As both teams are going into the Junior World Trophy, I’m sure we are all looking at final preps before the tournament on the 10th of July. So ja, it will be exciting, we are vying for the tile. It will be very competitive, without nothing to lose. We want to bring to trophy home on the 1st of May.”

The Zimbabwe squad with ambassador Winpeg Moyo (in blue) at the lunch.

On the eve of the final, the Zimbabwe team attended a lunch hosted by the country’s ambassador to Kenya, Winpeg Moyo.


Starting line-up: 1. Nqobile Manyara 2. Bryan Chieng 3. Tadiwa Chimwada 4. Huntley Masterson 5. Tanaka Gondo-Mukandapi 6. Tanaka Ndoro 7. Muzuva Gutu 8. Allan Mawunga 9. Panashe Zuze (captain) 10. Brendon Marume 11. Edward Sigauke 12. Alex Nyamunda 13. Dion Khumalo 14. Simbarashe Kanyangarara 15. Benoni Nhekairo.

Substitutes: 16 Stan Muranganwa 17. Gerry Zisengwe 18. Gealan Jaricha 19 Leo Mutendi 20. Tawananyasha Bwanya 21. Shadrick Mandaza 22. Tanaka Chinyanga23. Taonaishe Mapani.


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