POLOKWANE – A bullish and precise Zimbabwe schools side kicked off their 2013 Coca-Cola Craven Week by pounding Griquas 17-35 at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Monday.
Young Sables operated like a well-oiled machine and dominated proceedings in all spheres of the match.
Toast of the day was fullback, Brendon Mandivenga, who proved to be a rare asset finishing the match with a tally of twenty points to take man of the match award.
Zimbabwe forwards were switched on and dominated most of the set pieces in particular at scrums were they won a couple of tight head balls.
Skipper Daniel Moolman was a menace on the deck and inflicted a lot of turn overs at the rucks which laid the stage for the quick silver backline.
Flank Nick Burnett’s ability to pop any way also caused havoc for the Griquas defence, who struggled to contain him.
The Young Sables got on the scoreboard as early as the third minute when the mercurial boot of Mandivenga was called into action and easily slotted a close range penalty.
Ten minutes later, Zimbabwe were awarded a penalty for a infringement at the ruck.
Mandivenga made it a mere formality stretching the lead to 6-0.
Griquas’ centre Dimitrio Tieties reduced the arrears to just three points with his own penalty.
Speed merchant Jabulani Mutukwa ensured the Young Sables a healthy ten-point lead heading for the breather when he planted a try in the corner, with Mandivenga easily adding the extra points.
Godwin Murambiwa’s men increased their intensity in the second stanza as Munyaradzi Mashaya lead the onslaught crossing the white wash.
Mandivenga added a penalty and a converted try of his own as he kept score board ticking.
Griquas managed to weather the storm momentary by building a couple phases which resulted in several penalties for infringements by the Zimbabweans at contact point.
Zimbabwe eighth-man Ivan Bawden was sin binned for professional foul close to the try line.
Griquas instantly utilised the extra man advantage grabbing three quick converted tries, two of them by silky Tieties and one by Gideon Bruwer.
Mutukwa seemed to be suffering from white line fever as he crossed the whitewash once more completing his brace as Zimbabwe finished strong.
After the match a delightful Murambiwa said: “Defensively we are nearly there. It’s what Zimbabwe rugby needs to do if we are to be competitive and be counted at Craven Week.
“Against Griquas we contested very well at rucks and contact skills were good. We managed to maintain the structure and defended our five metre well in which has been an issue in our opening games previously”