Cloud Fusire, Harare Bureau
THE Zimbabwe Under-18 rugby coach, Gordon Pangeti, is hoping to avoid ending the Old Mutual Craven week winless when they take on Namibia in their last match on Sunday in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Zimbabwe were beaten 45-27 in their opening match by Boland of West Cape Province on Monday before they went down 43-19 to the Eastern Province Country Districts two days later.
The Under-18s were hoping for a positive start but the battle was won by the dominant Boland front row, who bullied the Zimbabwean forwards for the duration of the game.
It was poor defensive errors and possession that made it difficult for the young Zimbabwean side to reduce the deficit in the second half as the game ended in favour of the South Africans.
The Young Sables spent most of the game defending which led to reckless tackles that resulted in too many infringements.
Pangeti attributed the defeats to lack of defensive concentration and clinical finishing in converting their tries. But he believes that they have found the remedy ahead of the Namibia encounter.
“We defended so well in the first half of the game against Boland but afterwards we conceded so many fouls which resulted in too many penalties.
“We also failed to be more clinical in converting the tries that we had and at this level of the tournament if you make such mistakes you get punished.
“But we have identified our mistakes and re-grouped to take on Namibia. We are taking each game at a time and my boys are still positive and ready to raise our country flag high.
“We just need to be more clinical and defend as a team against our final opponents and I’m confident that if we manage to execute our game plan, we will come out with a positive result,” said Pangeti.
The Junior Sables this Sunday will face a Namibia side that they have failed to conquer over the years.
Pangeti has never tasted victory against Namibia, described them as tough opponents since they won their opening game.
“It’s going to be a very tough match. I was watching Namibia play, they play well as a team, simply hard, very physical rugby, that’s going to be a massive challenge for us,’’ said Pangeti.
He said he was going to give his boys some rest to recover ahead of the crucial battle against Namibia.