By Sports Reporter
Netherlands… (7) 7 Zimbabwe……(18) 30
THE Zimbabwe senior national rugby team is oozing with confidence ahead of next week’s Rugby Africa Cup after wrapping up their preparations with a dominant 30-7 win over higher-ranked Netherlands at the Rugby Stadium Amsterdam on Saturday.
The Sables scored two tries in each half through centres Takudzwa Chieza and Matthew McNab, debutant fullback Takudzwa Musingwini and replacement hooker Liam Larkan, who was also making his first appearance for Zimbabwe.
Skipper Hilton Mudariki and Musingwini, who were alternating the kicking duties chipped in with 10 points from two penalties and as many conversions.
Netherlands scored their only try of the match through flank Liam Stone while fly-half Mees Van Oord slotted home the extras.
Buoyed by their recent participation in the Currie Cup First Division competition in South Africa, Zimbabwe were clearly the better side on the day as they outclassed Netherlands in all aspects.
The only concern for the Sables technical team ahead of next week’s Rugby Africa Cup will be the absence of a reliable goal kicker in the team after the duo of Mudariki and Musingwini missed four penalties and two conversions on Saturday.
After yesterday’s result, the Sables are set to jump six places to 27th when the World Rugby Rankings are updated on Monday while the Netherlands will drop to 28th.
Zimbabwe, who went into the match ranked 34th on the World Rugby Rankings, eight placed below their opponents who were ranked number 26 in the world.
After the final preparatory match in the Dutch capital, the Sables will now return to France to prepare for their Rugby Africa Cup quarterfinal against Ivory Coast on July 2.
This year’s Rugby Africa Cup, which will be held in France from July 1 to 10, 2022 also serves as the final round of the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifying for African countries.