HARARE – Zimbabwe’s rugby coach Brendan Dawson, who played for the team at the African nation’s last World Cup in 1992, was left delighted but believes his side must make some adjustments to qualify for the next edition of the tournament following Saturday’s historic 30-7 win over Netherlands in Amsterdam.

The Zimbabweans took on the Dutch in a Test friendly on Saturday ahead of Africa’s qualification tournament in France this week, and former Sables captain Dawson feels his charges are ready for the challenge if they correct a few areas of their game.

Zimbabwe open their World Cup qualifiers against Ivory Coast in Marseilles on Friday.

“We are very, very happy with our performance,” Dawson said after the Netherland tie.

“We scrummed really nicely, our work was really good. We are very happy with the backline, the backline performed really nicely. Something we have to work on, we need to attack from depth. We were flat on certain stages where we forced the passes because we were too flat, but we will work on that this week and we will work on our breakdown area where we allowed them (Netherlands) to be a bit slow on the ball. Obviously the Ivory Coast will not be quicker. But generally, with the back three (of Taku Musingwini, Shayne Makombe and Shingi Katsvere), we are very happy and obviously winning for the first time away in history against a higher ranked team of 26 and where we sit in 34, it’s massive for us going into the qualifiers.”

Zimbabwe’s match in Amsterdam was the Sables’ first away tie to European opposition in 33 years, and the win gives Dawson so much confidence ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

Yet he still found some faults in his team, but no big deal going into the qualifiers.

“We were not clinical in certain areas like the breakdowns against the Netherlands,” Dawson said. “We were not quick enough in the breakdowns. We got to work on that this week. Young Taku (Musingwini) did well at fullback, we were really happy with his performance. (Outside-centre; Matthew) McNab really played nicely in the midfield alongside Taku Chieza, so sound and good in the backline. So overall, we are happy to be the first team to go as a Zimbabwean team and beat a European team. So hopefully we don’t get beyond ourselves that, we have a big task this Friday against Ivory Coast.”


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