HomeSportRugbyCheetahs claim Shield in South Africa

Cheetahs claim Shield in South Africa

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The national Sevens rugby team beat African neighbours Kenya 19-12 to lift the Shield at the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on Saturday.

The Cheetahs were on the scoresheet through two tries from winger Wesley Mbanje and another by Justin Coles with Gardner Nechironga converting two of the tries.

The win ensured the Cheetahs defended the shield trophy after they beat Kenya 14-5 at the same stage in last year tournament in George.

“It is a nice way to finish off but we are under no illusions because we have a lot of work to do. It clearly shows the level from the top teams and our level so there is a lot of work to do,” said team manager Bruce Hobson after the victory in the shield final.

“A little extra special to win against Kenya, we have got the monkey off our back, and there is always a lot of pressure on us to keep the rhythm going.

“I didn’t enjoy it as much as the crowd but it was great. We have to work on our depth, but we also have to believe in ourselves, and it is self belief, absolute self belief.”

Zimbabwe, who finished in the Shield semis in Dubai, looked destined for a poor campaign after loses to Fiji (42-17), Wales (42-7) and Portugal (24-12) in their pool matches on Friday.

The defeats relegated the Cheetahs to the third tier competition where they lost 26-0 to the USA in the Bowls quarterfinal which further relegated them to the fourth tier, the Shield competition.

The Cheetahs needed to improve from their performance in Dubai and they did just that as Tangai Nemadire, Manasah Sita and Mbanje all crossed for Zimbabwe as they beat Morocco 21-14 in the first Shield semifinal.

Patrice Agunda snatched a 17-12 victory for Kenya against Portugal with a sudden death extra time try which saw them book a date with the Cheetahs.

The Cheetahs, who are not yet a core team on the IRB Sevens World series, will return to international competition during the Hong Kong leg of the circuit end of March before heading for the final two legs in Scotland and England in May.

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