Mama stars in Bristol win


England-based Zimbabwean lose forward Marco Mama capped a strong performance with a wonderful try to help his club Bristol RFU record a 39-22 bonus point victory over rivals Plymouth Albion at the Memorial Stadium over the weekend.

The 20-year-old former Zimbabwe rugby Under-20 team skipper, who lasted the entire 80 minutes in the match, touched down a late try to seal the win which took Bristol to second position after four games on the 12-team league.

Bristol plies its trade in the RFU Championship, the second-tier of the English rugby union structure.

A Bristol publication singled out the Peterhouse College graduate as standout performer in the match.

Mama, who captained Zimbabwe at the Junior World Rugby Trophy, was promoted from the Bristol City academy into the senior squad last December.

However, according to reports, Mama might just become one of the latest promising players to turn their backs on Zimbabwe as it has emerged he qualifies to play for England, thanks to his parents.

The player has also made no secret of the fact that his ultimate goal would be to play for England. This is not good news as Zimbabwe continues to nurture talent for other countries to tap.

Bristol is coached by Zimbabwe-born Liam Middleton who said he believed there was still plenty to work on despite seeing his team thump Plymouth Albion.

Middleton, who is also the Zimbabwe Sevens coach, has now overseen three bonus-point wins in four league games since taking the reins at the Memorial Stadium.

“We’re setting pretty high standards and I think it’s very easy to get caught up in the fact you’ve won three of your first four games with bonus points,” he said.

“What I said to the players afterwards is we know where we need to be, but we’re not there yet.

“At the same time, you can’t complain too much about a bonus-point win and we’ve now got three of those from four games. Objectively, it’s a great result for us, but I suppose I’ve got this vision of where we need to be to be competitive, and we’re not there yet.

“But, in saying that, I don’t expect us to be there yet. I expect us to be in January or February, but I want us to keep pushing the players and I want them to be constantly challenged so we stay out of any complacency,” he added.