ZIMBABWE U-20 . . . . (11) 19
NAMIBIA U-20 . . . . . . . (6) 14
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
ZIMBABWE’S Under-20 rugby team celebrated their first continental title in 11 years after beating bitter rivals Namibia to clinch the Rugby Africa Under-20 Barthes Trophy at the Nyayo International Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, yesterday.
Tries from winger Liberty Sibanda and scrumhalf Panashe Zuze in addition to two penalties by fullback Brendan Marume and another three-pointer by skipper Takudzwa Musingwini sealed a memorable fourth continental title for Zimbabwe.
A torrential downpour in the second half meant the Junior Sables had to overcome a nervy period towards the end of the match as Namibia fought back to be within five points on the slippery wet surface.
However, the Zimbabwe team fought hard in defence to grind out a victory and secure their first U20 Barthes Trophy crown since winning their third successive continental championship in 2011 when it was still known as the Junior Africa Cup.
The Young Sables were worthy winners as they put on a performance full of vigour and character to upstage the Namibians, who have in the past always found a way to upstage local teams from the age-group side to the senior team.
“The boys came out to play. It was a tough encounter, but they worked hard for this. We’ve got a young team and the excitement all around,” Zimbabwe coach Shaun de Souza said after the match.
“We were fortunate that they played their game against Kenya before ours, so we had an opportunity to analyse their game. We saw their strengths and tried to capitalise, as you saw our defensive system had changed from the