ZIMBABWE’S Cheetahs found the going tough on their return to the opening tournament of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with Gilbert Nyamutsamba’s men losing all their pool A games against tough opposition yesterday.
But the African champions will take some solace from improved performances in their last pool A games against Argentina and Samoa in which they showed great potential to improve and match some of the world’s best.
The Cheetahs however, got a rude awakening of how much ground they would need to cover in the international game after being handed a 31-0 hiding by Dubai tournament defending champions South Africa in their opening assignment.
Nyamutsamba’s men then entertained Argentina in what turned out to be a see-saw affair which the Pumas eventually won 22-19
But that was not before the Cheetahs had taken a 12-10 lead at the break.
Argentina also shocked South Africa 19-12 in their final pool clash.
In their third pool game, Zimbabwe took on Samoa and narrowly went down 19-17.
But it was in the opening game that the cheetahs got a lashing by their southern neighbours.
A brace of tries by the hotstepper Rosko Speckman highlighted the Blitzboks’ opening salvo in defence of their Dubai Sevens title as they dispatched Zimbabwe 31-0.
Speckman’s brace came at the end of the match after the damage had already been done with Shakes Soyizwapi and Branco du Preez scoring early to give the South Africans a 14-0 lead.
Zimbabwe tried hard but never had the firepower to match the Blitzboks physicality and eventually succumbed to the World Series champions’ pressure game.
Speckman had a beautiful run shortly after taking the field to put veteran Kyle Brown in at the corner before showing his magic for the two tries.
The first came from a chip by Justin Geduld and the second came with trademark speed at the end of the game.