KAMPALA – Zimbabwe, led by former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers, managed to stave off relegation to the Silver Cup after they beat Uganda in a Rugby Africa Gold Cup/World Cup qualifier match 38-18 in Kampala, Uganda, at the weekend.
As a result, the Zimbabwe Sables maintained their Rugby Africa Tier 1A status.
“This is a good step on our 2023 plan and (towards) winning the Gold Cup next year,” man-of-the-match Zimbabwe scrumhalf Ernest Mudzengerere said afterwards.
Zimbabwe wasted little time in claiming the game’s first try as Connor Pritchard went over the line in the fifth minute.
The hosts held out for the rest of half, though, and the momentum of the match looked to be turning their way before another yellow card – shown to scrumhalf Aaron Ofoyrwoth, created a space in defence that Tafadzwa Chitokwindo exploited.
Uganda needed someone to step up, and backrower Byron Oketayot did exactly that as he took advantage of a rolling maul to get the hosts on the scoreboard within two minutes.
A Phillip Wokorach penalty then narrowed their deficit to just four points.
However, on the stroke of halftime Brendon Mandivenga intercepted Robert Masendi’s attempted pass to score Zimbabwe’s third try of the match.
Masendi was substituted at the break, but Uganda’s fortunes failed to improve as Chitokwondo scored his second try of the game.
The hosts reduced the arrears thanks to a Michael Okorach try in the corner, and after Zimbabwe replacement prop Kudakwashe Nyamufaringwa saw yellow, a Wokorach penalty drew them to within six points.
But it wasn’t to be the hosts’ day and late tries from Shingi Katsvere and Shayne Makombe put the seal on Zimbabwe’s salvation and denied Uganda a losing bonus-point.
African News Agency (ANA)