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Cheetahs return with wooden spoon

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The Cheetahs will return home with a wooden spoon after a disappointing campaign at the Hong Kong leg of the International Rugby Board (IRB) World Sevens Series which ended on Sunday.

Zimbabwe’s hopes out returning home with any piece of silverware were dashed when they succumbed to a shattering 17-14 loss to minnows Spain in the semi-finals of Shield Trophy.

The Shield Trophy is a fourth tier title behind the Cup, Plate and Bowl title and is contested by teams who would have failed to make progress against the more competitive teams in the latter titles.

At half-time Zimbabwe looked set to have booked a date in the final against Kenya as they came from behind to head for the oranges leading 14-10 courtesy of a converted tries by Gardner Nechironga and Manasah Sita.

The Cheetahs had taken too long to settle and were punished soon after kick-off when Spaniard Ignacio Martin crossed over in the first minute before he added the second try a minute later.

The Cheetahs won the Shield Trophy on their previous sojourn on the IRB circuit in George, South Africa last December and were hoping to equal that but they found the going tough in Hong Kong.

Skipper Jacques Leitao and his men lost all their Pool F matches in one of their worst performances on the IRB World Sevens Series.

Their campaign started off on a poor start against the Australians, who ran in six tries on their way to a crushing 42-0 win on Friday before Canada emerged 24-10 winners in their second match on Saturday.

Zimbabwe’s hopes of at least posting one win in their Pool matches evaporated after they lost 21-12 to Argentina later that day.

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