ZIMBABWE'S national rugby sevens side the Cheetahs, will face Hong Kong in the bowl competition quarterfinals this morning after they began their campaign at the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens with a 31-7 loss against Canada here yesterday.
The Cheetahs needed to win their tough Pre-Round of 16 match against Canada yesterday to entertain any hopes of remaining in contention.
Despite getting off to a promising start, the Cheetahs failed to cause an upset against Canada and will now face Hong Kong in the less fashionable bowl competition after the Asian also lost their first match after a 19-7 loss against Uruguay.
Cheetahs skipper Kudzai Mashawi said he was disappointed that his charges were not able to finish the job against Canada and vowed to keep fighting until the end.
“Obviously we are gutted this match was there for the taking, when you’re playing in a stage like this you need to bring your A game and that's the difference
“Definitely the game was open, it was 50-50 and we just needed to stay disciplined, stick to our systems and do our basics well but unfortunately a couple of defensive errors let us down and got us on the back foot. We are disappointed that we are now out of the main cup as we are in the bowl competition but we will need to take each game as it comes and hopefully continue to tick the boxes,” Mashawi said.
The Cheetahs were very quick off the blocks as they stunned Canada with an early try courtesy of Godfrey Magaramombe after a quick tap when the Cheetahs were awarded a penalty five metres out.
Ryan Musumhi slotted home the conversion to make it 7-0 to the Cheetahs.
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With a potential upset on the cards, unfortunately the Cheetahs who had kept Canada in their half for long periods in the opening stages, let their guard down.
Canada scored quick converted tries in the fifth and sixth minute through Alex Russel and Anton Ngongo to take a 14-7 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Canada extended their lead to 21-7 with a converted try from Jake Thiel before Russell completed his brace with another try a few moments later.
Although the conversion attempt sailed wide, it took Canada’s lead to 26-7.
Any hopes of a Cheetahs comeback were over by the time Canada ran in their fifth try of the match through Ciaran Breen to take a 31-7 win which saw them booking their spot in the tournament’s round of 16 where they will play against France today.
Follow Daniel Nhakaniso on Twitter @danielnhakaniso