South Africa’s U20 team have won an historic series against Zimbabwe by two matches to nil
A South African team made their first ever competitive visit to another African nation last weekend, when their U20 side travelled to Harare for a two match series with Zimbabwe, following the success of their host’s team in South African domestic tournaments.
Match 1: Zimbabwe U20 0-43 South Africa U20
South Africa had a convincing 43-0 win against Zimbabwe to lead 1-0 in their bilateral two match series at Prince Edward School in Harare.
The visitors struck early with a run away try minutes from the kick off before Zimbabwe had found its footing – Zimbabwe fought hard and regrouped in the first half but still trailed 17-0 at half time.
Zimbabwe showed strong signs of a fight but the South Africans made short work of resistance.
This is the first ever bilateral women’s series at under-20 level between the two nations, one that both nations appreciate dearly.
South African Head Coach Laurian Johannes was pleased with her charges’ performance on game one.
“It is always nice to play in another country, our girls did well but we can improve in certain areas in the next game. Thanks to Zimbabwe Rugby Union for inviting us, it will be awesome if Zimbabwe gets to visit us so that we strengthen the relationship between the two countries and ultimately do well for women’s rugby in Africa,” Laurian Johannes.
Zimbabwean Coach Nsikelelo Sibanda was not pleased with the homeside and believes that they mental awareness got the best of them.
“I am disappointed because I thought we had a good side but I think the girls were just rattled and they feared the name South Africa today. The girls took so long to switch on, we made too many mistakes and lost the ball. We are training tomorrow, we will have a flat out session and what we are going to do is make a few changes and there are some holes that we want to plug,” said Sibanda.
Match 2: Zimbabwe U20 10-67 South Africa U20
The Zimbabwe put up added impetus to their resistance as they tried to salvage some pride in their 67-10 loss against the South Africa in the second and final match in their bilateral series at Prince Edward, Harare.
The victory earned South Africa a 2-0 series win after enjoying a flawless 43-0 victory in the first match on Wednesday.
Once again the visitors opened with an early try and were relentless in their resolve.
Zimbabwe put up a better fight, showing signs of brilliance with ball carries and an aggressive defence.
Their structures, however, did not hold against South Africa despite scoring their only try in the series a few minutes before the halftime break to trail 34-10.
The second half was a freefall of tries for the visitors as South Africa were clinical in their execution.
Victorious Captain Tyler-Jane Coleman was ecstatic as her team proved their worth against a credible opponent.
“We all enjoyed it, we fixed all the stuff we needed to work on form the first match and we said today we are giving it our all and putting our bodies on the line.
“Yes Zimbabwe came at us a bit more physical, but we came back 100% stronger,” said Tyler-Jane Coleman.
Zimbabwean head coach Nsikelelo Sibanda lamented his charges’ costly mistakes that culminated in a second defeat.
“I think we made a lot of errors and they scored off our errors. Each time you make an error at this level you get punished and they did that,” said Sibanda.
The bilateral series was a first for both nations at Under-20 level.
Both sides will look forward to more game time and more competitive fixtures in the near future.
“Next for us we carry on training, we have in inter-provincial league and we have a tournament coming up for the senior team – some of us will be selected to come up and play there so training is key after this,” said Tyler-Jane Coleman.
While Zimbabwe hopes to salvage some pride having learnt crucial lessons in their loss to the visiting South Africans.
“The plan is to promote some of these girls to the seniors, we are preparing towards the world cup so the next thing is for the girls to travel across to South Africa and play against this team again,” said Sibanda.