Young Sables skipper Nhekairo stays put

The Young Sables were just 80 minutes away from booking a place at the Junior Rugby World Cup scheduled for Scotland in July.

DESPITE the short circuit experience at the Machinery Exchange Stadium at the famous Harare Sports Club rugby field two weeks ago resulting in a huge electrical shock that hit every Zimbabwean player and supporter in the final match of the Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy, the boys are on a recovery path and will not abandon the ship.

The Young Sables were just 80 minutes away from booking a place at the Junior Rugby World Cup scheduled for Scotland in July.

And, having dominated the previous two editions of the Barthes Trophy gunning for the third uninterrupted triumph, they were on course to victory following an early 10-0 lead in the match.

But, as fate would have it, the Young Sables failed to handle pressure from the bustling Kenyan side ending on the losing end and a heartbreak for all the Zimbabwe faithful.

Zimbabwe U20 co-captain Benoni Nhekairo said with the advice they got at half time from the head coach Shaun De Souza, it still remains a mystery why the team failed to wrap up the contest in the last 40 minutes.

"The coach pointed out our mistakes at half time. He tried to motivate us, telling us that in these last 40 minutes, all the work we had put in through since November was under threat," said Nhekairo.

"We needed to up the tempo, take the fight to the Kenyans and we had the fans on our side. We tried our best, but Kenya just played better than us."

Everything went wrong for the Young Sables in the last 40 minutes. Having led 10-0 and lose 13-28 does not need any rocket scientist to tell them the team was disjointed.

Nhekairo confirmed that cohesion and team work seized to be a thing resulting in the loss.

"I'm not going to hide the fact that we gave Kenya the game. I feel like we were the better side but Kenya stuck together as a team," he added.

"They played as a family and they really put us on the backfoot. "They were better than us on the day.

"I think in the second half you could see players were now arguing and shouting at each other. I feel like the boys were feeling the pressure, playing on home soil got into people's minds and when little mistakes were made we were going at each other instead of motivating each other, it's part of the game. You learn as you go through."

Even as he still struggles to come to terms with the defeat and the heartbreak, Nhekairo has committed himself to playing for Zimbabwe.

"At the moment I can't think about anything. The loss is just on my mind," said Nhekairo.

"I'm trying to think of things we could have done better, but I think just continuing in the system, get my head up and we move on from there."

Meanwhile, the Sables returned to business after a two-year break with a friendly date against neighbouring Zambia at Prince Edward School yesterday.

Sables captain Hilton Mudariki said his charges were geared for their return yesterday.

“We are super excited about the game against Zambia A, it has been a very long time since we have played as a unit at home," Mudariki said.

"The opportunity to play in front of our home fans is something that we cannot wait to grab."


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