By Sports Reporter
Zimbabwe……. (47) 101
Burkina Faso…(3) 3
ZIMBABWE’S national rugby team made light work of Burkina Faso in their opening Test of 2021, winning 101-3 in an entertaining Rugby Africa Cup Pool D encounter at Old Georgians Sports Club in Harare on Sunday.
As the scoreline suggests, this was an easy outing for head coach Brendan Dawson and his charges, who scored 16 unanswered tries with the quatert of wings Matthew MacNab and Shingi Katsvere as well as forwards Cleopas Kundiona and Aiden Burnett leading the way with a brace of tries each.
The Sables’ other points came through five-pointers from Tinotenda Mavesere, Kieth Chiwara, Sebastian Roche, Deanne Makoni, Matthew Mangongo and Shayne Makombe.
Chiwara also chipped in with 16 points from the boot after managing to slot home eight conversions while replacement scrumhalf also added eight points after converting four out of as many conversions.
The result is a momentous one for the Sables as it ranks as one of their biggest ever victories in recent memory despite fielding an experimental side which included six uncapped players.
As expected, the Sables were fastest out of the blocks and they opened the scoring as early as the sixth minute when Katsvere rounded off in the right corner after a flowing backline move in the build-up before the impressive Mavesere crashed over three minutes later.
Burkina Faso responded with a penalty but the ruthless Sables added a further six tries in the half as they took a 43-7 lead at the break.
The Sables continued from where they left off at the break managing another eight tries while shutting out Burkina Faso to ensure they got their campaign to qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup off to an impressive start.
The West African minnows face another uphill task when the two teams face off in the second match at the same venue on Thursday.
However Zimbabwe are now certain to finish top n Pool D ahead of next year’s knockout stages of the Rugby Africa Cup which also doubles as the final qualifying phase for the next edition of the World Cup to be hosted by France.