Young Sables, Kenya in epic clash

The Young Sables are vying for an interrupted third Barthes Trophy.

RUGBY Africa has condemned the poor lighting at Harare Sports Club’s rugby field and rescheduled by an hour the kick off for the do or die Barthes Trophy encounter pitting defending champions Zimbabwe U20 and Kenya.

The match was originally scheduled for 4pm on Sunday but will now be played at 3pm with the early kicker between Namibia and Tunisia now starting at 12pm as opposed to the traditional 2pm.

The Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) confirmed the developments in a statement yesterday.

“Rugby Africa has decided to reschedule Match day three of the 2024 Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy citing delays caused by injuries in the first match of Match day two between Kenya and Tunisia, which led to a late finish in the last match between Zimbabwe and Namibia,” ZRU said.

“The lighting at Harare Sports Club was deemed to be insufficient and hence would compromise player safety and welfare. Match day three will now see Namibia and Tunisia playing at 12pm followed by Zimbabwe and Kenya at 3pm. All inconveniences caused are sincerely regretted.”

Meanwhile, the curtain comes down on Sunday with a promising scintillating duel between hosts Zimbabwe and last year's runners-up Kenya.

Both sides are yet to drop a point heading into the decider on Sunday.

The Young Sables are vying for an interrupted third Barthes Trophy while Kenya will be looking to break the locals’ hegemony.

Zimbabwe U20 head coach Shaun De Souza conceded that Namibia gave his side a good run for their money.

“We did a lot of work after our first game against Tunisia. In the line-up, we went with a bit of a defensive system and I think it paid off. We didn't execute what we wanted with our running style but we still managed to put points on the board. We knew that they were quick, they were elusive in the back line,” De Souza said.

“So, we needed also to use our strengths, which was to keep the ball in the hands. Moonish moments from the skipper there kicking the ball away, but it's small things that I felt we should talk about when we go back to the drawing board.

“Nuff respect to Namibia, our biggest rivals coached by a legend of the game Allister Coetzee and thanks to that the boys did well on home soil."

The two teams need no motivation as the cup winners will qualify for the U20 Rugby World Cup to be hosted by Scotland in September.

Zimbabwe put themselves in good stead after beating former champions Namibia 35-21 in a tense battle on Wednesday, while Kenya made light work of Tunisia earlier in the day.

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