The Zimbabwe Under-18 rugby team will play South Western Districts today in their second match at the Coca Cola Craven Week tournament in South Africa.
The Godwin Murambiwa coached side will be hoping for better fortunes after they lost 23-15 to Griqualand West Country on Tuesday.
This year’s side was aiming to emulate the 2007 side which finished unbeaten at the tournament.
The Zimbabwe side, buoyed by their strong forward pack dominated by St John’s College students matched the Griquas but failed to utilise their opportunities.
Zimbabwe’s points in the first half came via two tries from centre Takudzwa Chieza and St Johns’ lock Graham Logan. Captain Corey van Rensburg converted one of the tries.
According to reports from South Africa, the big Zimbabwe pack gave their opponents a torrid time and enabled St Johns’ scrumhalf Jaco Pieters to cause all sorts of problems for his opposite number.
Early in the second half, Zimbabwe were able to take the lead for the first time in the match through a penalty kick but the Griquas Country Districts took control of the game with enterprising running.
They quickly regained the lead when right winger Johan Myburgh scored a brilliant try under the posts. The try was easily converted. A late penalty destroyed any hope of a dramatic Zimbabwe resurgence.
The Craven Week tournament is used to select players for the Under 18 South African side and Zimbabwe and Namibia are the only foreign teams at the tournament.
The tournament has also become a great hunting ground for talent scouts and most of the Zimbabwe players who have gone on to play for the national team have passed through this tournament.
The likes of Springbok Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira and Tonderai Chavhanga, Sables player Tangai Nemandire, Gerald Sibanda and Danny Robertson have played in the tournament.
Zimbabwe – Tries: Takudzwa Chieza, Graham Logan; Conversion: Corey van Rensburg; Penalty: Van Rensburg.
Griquas CD – Tries: Juan Booysen, Derek Botha, Johan Myburgh; Conversion: Myburgh; Penalties: Myburgh (2).