Cheetahs outsprint SA Buffaloes


The Zimbabwe 7s rugby team star winger Wes Mbanje ran in two brilliant half-tries to inspire his team to a 24-14 win over the South African Buffaloes to lift the inaugural Spar International 7s title on their maiden home appearance at Harare Sports Club yesterday.

The team, affectionately known as the Cheetahs, had gone into the final under-pressure to please their fans after they were held to a 13-all draw by the same team in a Pool A match on Saturday.
Mbanje calmed the nerves after touching down at the corner flag as early as the second minute having been fed by Fortune Chipendu. Tangai Nemadire’s conversion went just wide.

The Buffaloes replied with a try of their own through a converted try by Pieter Streicher as the South Africans took a 7-5 lead midway through the first half.

Mbanje sprinted through for his second which was converted by Nemadire before Streicher silenced the crowd moments later as the tourists got their nose in front 14-12.

That would be the last time the Buffaloes breached the Cheetahs’ defence as Nemadire and substitute Kelvin Magunje’s converted tries sunk the visitors while torching wild celebrations from the fans.
Cheetahs’ skipper Jacques Leitao was delighted with his team’s victory.

“It’s awesome to win at home. You couldn’t have asked for a better final. I would like to thank the fans for the support throughout the tournament and we promise to represent you well in the upcoming Hong Kong Sevens tournament,” said Leitao.

The Cheetahs had booked a place in the Cup final after upstaging pre-tournament favourites the South African Sevens Academy 14-7 in an entertaining Cup semi-final.

Zimbabwe’s second-string side, the Goshawks, missed out on some silverware after losing 26-12 to the South Africa 7s Academy in the Plate Final.
The Goshawks opened the scoring through Japhet Ndebele before William Small-Smith hit back for the South Africans with two quick tries.

Joshua Smallbones made sure the Goshawks went to the breather deadlocked 12-12, but they had no answers against a supercharged South African side which ran in two unanswered tries in the second half.

A youthful Botswana side won the fourth-tier competition, the Shield competition, after beating a local select side, the Zambezi Warriors, 19-14 in the final.

South African side Northern Region pipped neighbours Zambia 17-12 to win the Bowl final after sudden death. The two teams had finished regulation deadlocked on 12-12.