The Young Sables might have shrugged off the challenge of Uganda after chalking up a 16-8 win in their first match of the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Under-19 tournament at Prince Edward School on Saturday, but they will certainly need a much improved performance against Tunisia at the same venue tomorrow.
The Tunisians might have lost their opening match 9-8 to the Namibians, but are likely to pose as real threat to the Young Sables, who were far from impressive in their first match.
The Young Sables’ backline not only struggled with their ball handling, but also exposed themselves on the offensive with the midfielders occasionally static when running the ball, allowing the Ugandans time to recover.
The kicking also left a lot to be desired, with skipper Sean Linfield and Jamie Forrester taking turns to miss the target from close range, although they eventually managed to convert a penalty apiece.
However, had the match been more closely fought the Young Sables would have rued all those missed opportunities.
Centre Milan Muhambi touched down two tries while skipper Linfield and Forrester converted a penalty apiece for the CAR defending champions, Zimbabwe.
In the forward pack, Zimbabwe seemed to have a bigger pack on paper, but struggled in the scrumages, while also being slow in their support play at the breakdowns resulting in their opponents turning over the ball most of the times.
The defence was also not up to scratch as Zimbabwe players were not as committed going into tackles and had they been playing against a more tactically adept side like the Namibians, they would certainly have been punished.
Uganda flyhalf Ivam Magomo hit back with the visitors’ only try while fullback Philip Pariyo slotted home a penalty to reduce the arrears.
Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tunisia and Namibia, are fighting for the right to represent Africa at the 2012 Junior World Rugby Trophy while the other four countries — Kenya, Madagascar, Zambia and Morocco — compete in the second tier for promotion to next year’s CAR top division.