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Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
ZIMBABWE flyhalf Lenience Tambwera believes the Sables next Rugby Africa Cup assignment away to Kenya will be a huge test of their character to bounce back and keep the destiny of their 2019 World Cup hopes in their hands.
The Sables were held to a surprise 23-23 draw by Morocco at the Machinery Exchange Rugby Stadium at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
There might be a two-week break for Peter de Villiers’ men to re-group and re-organise but the Sables know fully well that in such a high-stakes game, it is a short period.
Zimbabwe are looking to end 27 years of waiting to secure a place at the World Cup showcase, set for Japan next year.
As De Villiers’ men regrouped in Harare yesterday Tambwera, who contributed 13 of the Sables points against Morocco with his boot, added his voice to the defiant chorus being sung by captain Denford Mutamangira, forward Connor Pritchard and their former Springboks coach, who have been insisting that Zimbabwe are still very much in the picture.
The Harare Sports Club flyhalf also revealed that the players were taking full responsibility for the draw against Morocco.
“Well, from my opinion, we let ourselves down as players, the coaches gave us everything, we were prepared and equipped to take a win but I guess we were not patient enough, especially when we were in their 22m area.
“Anywhere, besides the unexpected result, I believe we came out with a lot of positives that will take us to the next match with our heads held high.
‘’The next game will not be easy but I am 100% positive that if we stick to what we have been taught, and be more patient, we will return home with a win,’’ Tambwera said.
Tambwera had a big moment to clinch the game for Zimbabwe with buzzer-beating penalty against Morocco, which he just dragged inches off the post and with it a chance for a 26-23 victory had gone.
“Well I was just unlucky. Whenever I call for posts it will be within my range, I slightly overcooked it . . . but I was so calm and nerves didn’t even take charge,’’ Tambwera said.
Tambwera said although they were confident of their capabilities the Sables were aware of the tough task that will be awaiting them in Nairobi on June 30.
“Obviously, playing at anyone’s home ground is not easy but to us it’s the same pressure because we just have to win but it’s going to be more physical and intense (than the game against Morocco).’’
Sables team manager Kisset Chirengende said although they had resumed preparations yesterday, they would go into camp on Saturday with the players who are based outside Harare expected to join in on Friday.
Zimbabwe must now grind out results on the road in a space of two weeks against Kenya on June 30 and Tunisia on July 7 before they return home to face Namibia.
Kenya are win-less in their previous two visits to the North African country, losing 29-3 on 7 May 2005 and 29-11 on 11 July 2009, and could struggle again in Morocco this Saturday.
Meanwhile Zimbabwe’s World Cup-bound Sevens side — the Cheetahs — will also resume their preparations tomorrow, albeit in batches, with coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba taking charge of those in Bulawayo.
His assistant Tangai Nemadire, team manager Donald Mangenje and assistant Gerald Sibanda will preside over the Harare sessions.
Nyamutsamba’s men won silver at the Roma Sevens tournament in Italy last weekend and returned home on Monday with the coach giving his players a two-day rest.
Nyamutsamba would have to make a big decision on his players who are also involved with Sables duties before the Cheetahs head off to San Francisco, United States for the World Cup.