HARARE – Zimbabwe Under-20 rugby coach Shaun De Souza says his team’s victory over a Namibian side coached by former South Africa senior team boss Allister Coetzee was “special” and tested his bench’s coaching skills.

Hosts Zimbabwe, who have won the Youth Africa Cup over the past two years, defeated rivals Namibia 35-23 on Wednesday in a hard-fought match of the Barthes Trophy.

Namibia is being coached by ex-Springbok gaffer Coetzee, who is also the head coach of that country’s senior side.

60-year-old Coetzee coached South Africa between 2016 and 2018.

“It was never going to be a walk in the park, they are our traditional rivals and we knew it was going to be a tough game,” De Souza told SportsCast.

“Going against a world-class ex-Springbok coach was definitely going to be tough. We knew that they would come with some useful tactics, some physicality, some really structured patterns of play. So ja, that made it even more special to us. It was a challenge for ourselves on the coaching front…really straightening ourselves tactically and technically. I think it was a good game, it stood as one of the best tests we’ve had against Namibia. It was tough, both teams came out guns blazing. There went to toe-to-toe, blow-to-blow, I think fans were really entertained.”

Zimbabwe now meet Kenya on Sunday in the last game of the round-robin event, basically the tournament decider.

“Going into Sundays’ game, it has become a final for this event. With both teams going unbeaten, and only one team qualifying for the World Junior Trophy. Anything can happen.  We won the last two titles in Kenya. This time I’m sure Kenya will come guns blazing, they want to dethrone us, on our home territory. It won’t be an easy game. If we thought Namibia was tough, this one will be even tougher. The Kenyans will come with everything they have. But ja, we will prepare. We’ve had some injuries, we had a broken leg, one of our players is out for the next six months. We’ve got ankle injuries, shoulder injuries, it was a tough brutal game. But ja, that’s what test match rugby is about.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here