Harare Sports Club stormed back into contention in the Lion Lager National Rugby League after a last-minute try by Ruramai Kudenga gave them a 8-6 win over defending champions Old Georgians at Groombridge on Saturday.
Old Georgians however maintained pole position on the log with 40 points as they secured a bonus point because they didn’t lose by a margin of more than seven points.
Sportivo, as Harare Sports Club are affectionately known, move to 39 points after the win and just a point adrift of Old Georgians.
Prior to the weekend match, Old Georgians had threatened to run away with the title after winning all their first eight matches on the trot, leaving the match billed as “the clash of the titans”.
With a lot of fireworks expected in the match, the two teams however took a cautious approach, emphasising more on defending, but in the end it was the high-riding Old Georgians who were brought down to earth by a determined Harare Sports Club.
The two teams went to the breather deadlocked at 3-all after Marcalvine Makoni and Tommy Nelson, the two flyhalfs for Harare Sports Club and Old Georgians respectively, traded penalties.
Nelson, who was part of the Under-20 team which did duty at the Junior World Rugby Trophy looked like he had won it for the hosts with a drop goal from close range.
However, Kudenga rose from the bench to touch down the match-winning try right at the death to secure an emotional win for his team, who had lost two consecutive matches to Old Georgians, going into this tie.
Harare Sports Club lost the reverse fixture 23-15 in their own backyard at Harare Sports Club.
In another encounter Old Miltonians revived their playoff hopes with a crucial 18-11 win over Old Hararians at Hartsfield on Saturday.
Meanwhile Kenya’s national XV rugby team survived an early onslaught by Uganda in the first half of their Victoria Cup tie to beat their East African rivals 27-10 at the RFUEA Grounds in Nairobi on Saturday.
Kenya, who were thumped 49-21 by the Zimbabwe senior rugby side, the Sables, a fortnight ago needed nothing short of a victory to keep their hopes alive as any slip-up would have left the Sables in control.
Uganda completely dominated the first half, but the hosts came back from the breather a more determined side.
“We know we can’t afford to start like that against Zimbabwe in the return leg and we will have to work harder,” said Kenya head coach Michael Otieno.
The Sables have a chance to win the Victoria Cup when they travel to Kenya for the return leg in a fortnight.
Kenya already lost to Zimbabwe in Harare and they now have to beat them in Nairobi, if they are to retain their Victoria Cup title.