THE ZIMBABWE Sevens rugby team lost 24-10 to Canada in the Shield semi-finals yesterday to put to an end one of their worst performances on the HSBC World Sevens in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, yesterday.
Although a losing cause, it was a much better performance for the Cheetahs against Canada as they managed to score two tries in a match for the first time in five outings at the two-day tournament.
The Cheetahs took an early lead in the match courtesy of a try from Tangai Nemadire before it was cancelled out by two tries from Philip Mack and Canada captain John Moonlight.
Speedster Tafadzwa Chitokwindo hit back soon after the restart, but it was the Canadians who had the final say with two tries from Conor Trainor and Harry Jones and a conversion to seal a deserved win.
The loss to Canada was the new-look Cheetahs’ second defeat of the day after they had earlier lost 38-5 in the bowl quarter-finals to Australia.
Yesterday’s defeats left Zimbabwe winless in the two-day tournament after they had lost all their Pool D matches to Argentina (31-5), England (35-7) and Samoa (43-0) on Saturday.
Competing in their first international tournament in almost six months, the Cheetahs always faced an uphill task without the services of some of their experienced players.
Regular skipper Jacques Leitao, speed merchant Wensley Mbanje and Danny Hondo, who recently retired from international sevens rugby, were all missing in action this weekend.
In the absence of the seasoned players, the Cheetahs fielded several uncapped players expected to form the backbone of the team in the future.
However, for now it is back to the drawing board for the Cheetahs who will have to wait until March next year for their next appearance on the HSBC World Sevens Series in Hong Kong.
Cheetahs results in SA
Day one: Pool D results — Argentina 31 Zimbabwe 5, England 35 Zimbabwe 7, Samoa 43 Zimbabwe 0
Day two: Bowl Quarter-final — Australia 38 Zimbabwe 5, Shield Semi-final — Canada 24 Zimbabwe 10