Mixed fortunes for Cheetahs

Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
ZIMBABWE scored one of the best tries of the opening day of the World Rugby Sevens Series qualifiers but the Cheetahs still met with mixed turned as their campaign for core status burst into life in Hong Kong yesterday.

The Cheetahs overcame Papua New Guinea 17-10 in their opening Pool F game but came a cropper against Germany in their second assignment with Gilbert Nyamutsamba’s men going down 27- 7.

They will now face the hosts today in a must-win encounter if they are to keep their quarter-final hopes alive.

Hong Kong were left with a mountain to climb after narrowly going down 22-21 to Papua New Guinea before suffering another close 14-12 defeat by the Germans.

A spectacular try from German-based wing Takudzwa Chitokwindo and two more touch downs by Ngoni Chibwe and Lenience Tambwera as well as a conversion set the Cheetahs for their confidence boosting triumph over Papua New Guinea.

But it was the manner in which they got their game against Germany off to flier with brilliant team try in which Chitokwindo, who plies his trade with TV Pfozheim in German, was at the hub, which caught the eye.

The brilliant try in which the Zimbabweans made four passes on their way to touching down was also trending on World Rugby TV yesterday and Nyamutsamba reckoned that his charges could reproduce more of such performances if they were to play tournament rugby regularly.

“Magical! Zimbabwe show incredible skill to keep the ball alive & score brilliant try at the Men’s Sevens Series Qualifier,’’ read the caption on the World Rugby website.

A turnover of possession inside their half saw Chitokwindo waltz his way before laying on the ball in a sleek move that was completed d by Riaan O’Neil who plays his club rugby with False Bay in Cape Town.

Nyamutsamba also felt that his charges had committed some errors that could have been avoided and which proved costly for them against the Germans.

“We had a good start…winning is always a good moral booster, so far a lot of positives have come out on day one of the tournament.

“PNG have played in several world tournaments from last year and this year, hence they were rated favourites in our group, a win over a team ranked higher shows that our team can still be competitive at a higher level.

“The Germany game didn’t go our way despite the early lead we had. A few mistakes and they capitalised on our errors to win the game.

“Hopefully, we will minimise the error rate against Hong Kong. It’s never easy to play the hosts in front of their loud crowd. Patience and control will be key for us against them in this all or nothing game which is the path way to the quarter-finals,’’ Nyamutsamba said.

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