Zimbabwe Sables opened their Victoria Cup campaign with a convincing 39-10 victory over Zambia in front of a packed Machinery Exchange Stadium at Harare Sports Club. Picture/Grind Stone Africa

Zimbabwe Rugby team got their 2019 Victoria cup campaign off the ground with an emphatic 39-10 win over Zambia at the Machinery exchange stadium, here is how the players fared in their opener and their ratings.

Loosehead prop – 7 -Henri Boshoff was impressive on debut, he was solid at scrum time as he kept Zambia on the back foot. Boshoff was also tremendous with the ball in hand and showed immaculate ball carrying skills.

Hooker-5-Keith Murray had a pretty average outing as he struggled earlier on in the game to find his jumpers at line out time but managed to rectify it later in the match.

Tighthead Prop-8- Tyran Fagan gave a good account of himself in his first runout in a sables shirt as he kept the opposition loose forward a tiring time in the scrums.

Lock-4-Godwin Mangenje rarely contributed anything in the match and could be the nerves that got the best of him on his debut. There was nothing to write home about him. He failed to finish the match as he was red carded for a dangerous tackle.

Lock– 5-Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa had a quiet game and was not involved as much.

Open side Flank-8- Blithe Mavesere was arguably the most impressive player in sables colours as he constantly took the team over the advantage line with his strong running. He put in some big hits in defence. Mavesere linked with the backs well in attack.

Blindside flank-7-Brian Nyaude was a menace on the deck as he pounced on loose balls and contested for almost everything at the breakdown.

Eightman-6-Godfrey  Muzanarwo showed his immense ball carrying skills with the good forward ball and was solid of the base of the scrum. Muzanarwo looked a bit vulnerable in defence something he might need to work on but none the less he had a great debut.

Scrumhalf-6-Hilton Mudariki put in a mixed performance both in defence and offence. He commanded the forwards in a great manner and but at times recycled the ball too slow for a very hungry backline, who Wanted the ball a fraction faster.

Fly Half– 7- Brendon Mandivenga it was his first outing as sables skipper and his slowly growing in that number 10 jersey with each game. His ball distribution was exceptional while his tactical kicking was right on the money as he constantly gained vital territory for Zimbabwe. One worrying aspect of his play is fitness level. His match tempo dropped drastically in the last 20 minutes.

Inside Center-5- Ngoni Chibuwe was guilty of holding onto the ball too long in attack and barely allowed players outside him into the game. His centre pairing combination with Daniel Capsopoulos failed to click

Outside Center-8– Daniel Capsopoulos has brilliant rugby IQ, also had great awareness and popped out when he was needed and this resulted in him going over the whitewash twice. He was also Solid in defence.

Right Wing -5-Takudzwa Kumadiro did not have a good game, he struggled with his handling and failed to gather the ball at crucial times.

Left wing-7-Martin Mangongo had a good outing on the park as he was in the thick of action popping up everywhere and his efforts were rewarded with a try of his own.

Fullback-5-Kudakwashe Chiwanza struggled to clear his line and was also guilty of holding on the ball too long whenever he joined the line in attack

Replacements

Prop-5-  Tatenda Rwenyu struggled at scrum time when he came on as they were annihilated a couple of times by the visitors

Hooker-6-Mathew Mandioma was good with ball in hand as he punched holes in the Zambians defences and gave the team go forward ball.

Flyhalf– 6- Jerry Jaravazi only managed to play the last ten minutes and didn’t contribute that much.

Centre -8- Takudzwa Chieza injected much-needed life in the sables backline in the second half with superb running lines and gave the visitors a torrid time in defence. Chieza capped off his fine debut with two brilliant tries

Scrum-half-5- Ernest Mudzengerere was a pearl shadow of himself as he was very jittery when he came on. A lot of his passes went wayward and lost a lot of possession

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