ZIMBO Flavour. . . Sables dismiss Tunisia

Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (13) 19

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Tunisia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(3) 8

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Tunisia n forwards Mlise Mohamad  and Medhri Hamdi chase after a loose ball during a Zimbabwe attack in yesterday’s Africa Cup Group A1 encounter at Prince Edward. —  (Picture by Tawanda Bote)

Tunisia n forwards Mlise Mohamad and Medhri Hamdi chase after a loose ball during a Zimbabwe attack in yesterday’s Africa Cup Group A1 encounter at Prince Edward. — (Picture by Tawanda Bote)

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THE job is half done.

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That’s the feeling in the Zimbabwean rugby camp after the Sables overpowered Tunisia in an Africa Cup group A1 encounter at Prince Edward High School yesterday.

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The win ensured the Sables stay in the elite Africa A1 group, making next month’s clash with Namibia a winner takes all affair.

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Tunisia, on the other hand, have been relegated. Namibia are no walkovers, but gaffer Cyprian Mandenge can draw comfort from his charges’ performance yesterday.

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It was a much improved show from their stuttering 28-20 victory over Kenya last month.

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Much like the game against Kenya, the Sables dominated the first half with the line defending well again. Fly-half Tich Makwanya had an outstanding day with the boot.

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However, it appears Mandenge is still not yet sure who owns that position as the Old Hararians skipper again switched with Lenience Tambwera in the second half.

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Two penalties from Makwanya and Tunisia’s fullback Chams Eddin Khalifa shaped the opening ten minutes, but the game then turned nasty courtesy of the North Africans’ theatrics and eighth-man Khafouss Salem was sent to the sin bin for foul play.

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Tragedy then struck when Zimbabwe’s flank Norman Mukondiwa’s comeback from a three year hiatus was cut short in the 20th minute by a crude tackle. The 33-year-old suffered a concussion. His replacement, Fortune Chipendu, gave the home side the advantage when he got onto the end of a pass from Zimbabwe’s line inside Tunisia’s 22 and planted the ball in the middle.

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Makwanya stepped up to convert and give Zimbabwe a 13-3 lead going into the breather.

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The second half saw the two sides keep the scoreboard ticking with Tunisia scoring an unconverted try through Mlise Mohammed, while Makwanya added another penalty to Zimbabwe’s tally. A jubilant Mandenge lauded his charges for the improved showing but admitted a lot more work needed to be done ahead of the Namibia clash.

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“There is no such thing as an ugly win,” he declared. “It was a tough encounter and I think the Tunisians played well, playing to their strengths and keeping their structure.

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“My boys defended well and that is what will be required when we face Namibia next month. If you notice their game (Namibia) is very similar to that of Tunisia. We need to start working on our weaknesses.