Junior Sables massacre Kenya to finish fifth in World Rugby U20 Trophy

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By Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S U20 rugby team claimed fifth position in the World Rugby U20 Trophy in stunning fashion, punishing their continental rivals Kenya 64-10 in a one-sided playoff encounter at the Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi on Sunday.

After stunning the USA in their final Pool A match last week, the Junior Sables were eager to finish their campaign on a high against a Kenyan side which was aiming for revenge after being beaten in the Rugby Africa Barthes U20 Trophy final in April.

While a hard-fought encounter was anticipated between the African rivals, it ended up being a one-sided affair with the Zimbabwe side utterly dominating the show as they outscored Kenya by 10 tries to one.

Not even the partisan Kenyan home crowd could stop the Junior Sables as they dominated from the onset, with winger Tawanda Matipano showing a clean pair of heels before touching down in the right hand corner in the ninth minute.

The exciting Matipano bagged another try in the 17th minute, capitalising on a powerful carry from number eight Shingi Manyarara, who recently signed for Racing 92, to score in the same corner.

Zimbabwe scored three more tries in the first half through inside centre Dion Khumalo, prop Tadiwa Chinwada and fullback Benoni Nhekairo, who also chipped in with four conversion as the visitors led 33-0 at the interval.

Explosive number eight Manyarara touched down under the posts early in the second half before Simbarashe Kanyangarara  added another try as Zimbabwe stretched their lead to 47-0.

However Kenya got a reprieve when Khumalo received a red card for a dangerous tackle just before the hour mark.

The hosts immediately capitalised to score from the resulting penalty through replacement James Tsinalo.

Despite the numerical disadvantage it was the Junior Sables who scored next after being awarded a penalty try after Kenya deliberately collapsed Zimbabwe’s driving maul.

Unable to contain Zimbabwe’s power and slick offloading, Kenya struggled with their discipline as two of their players were sent to the sin bin.

It was an all Zimbabwe show towards the end the with replacement Shadreck Mandaza also crossing the whitewash to ensure the Junior Sables finished their campaign in emphatic fashion.

The victory ensured Zimbabwe secured their highest finish in the World Rugby U20 Trophy while in Spain will feature in the top tier World Rugby U20 Championship for the first time in 2024 after a thrilling 39-32 victory over Uruguay in the final.

Scotland finished third following a 83-10 win against Samoa in the third place playoff match while USA secured seventh position following a comfortable 47-22 win over Hong Kong China.