17 Jul 2013

Report: Griquas v Zimbabwe

A strong and spirited Zimbabwe team had too much gas for a very lackluster Griquas team beating the men from the Northern Cape 35 – 17 in the opening match of the 50th annual Coca-Cola Craven Week at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.Zimbabwe flyhalf Rukudzo Gona. Pic: Luke Walker (Gallo)Zimbabwe flyhalf Rukudzo Gona. Pic: Luke Walker (Gallo)

A thick mist met the players for the start of the game and like the weather, the rugby was not much to write home about in the first half hour. Zimbabwe dominated the territory and possession stakes early on and got on the board in the 3rd minute when fullback Brendon Mandivenga slotted a penalty after Griquas were penalised for holding the ball on the ground.

The fullback slotted his second penalty goal in the 14th minute to extend the lead before Dimitrio Tieties narrowed the gap to three points seven minutes later.

It was a very error ridden first half, with Griquas in particular playing very scrappy rugby and struggling with their set pieces, especially at scrum time where Zim had the better of them. But the game was sparked to life on the stroke of half time when Zim scored the first try of the match. An excellent driving maul from the lineout gave the Zim backs good front ball as Thomas Chadwick crashed it up. The outside centre was held up in the tackle and popped back to fellow centre Munyaradzi Mashaya who fed speedster Jabulani Mutukwa. The left-winger cut inside and sliced the defence in half to cross the line, giving Zim a 13 – 3 lead at the break.

Almost immediately after the break flyhalf Rukudzo Gona cut the line off a scrum, drew in the fullback and found centre Munyaradzi Mashaya, who cantered in under the sticks for the simplest of tries. Zim then pushed the lead out to 20 points when Mandivenga smashed a massive 45 metre penalty goal in the 46th minute. But the fullback wasn’t done yet as Zim compounded the Griquas misery from the restart. Some slick hands from Gona and Mashaya freed up Mandivenga out wide. He threw a beautiful dummy before cutting inside four would-be defenders to score unopposed under the poles to give Zim an unassailable 27 point lead.

Zim captain Daniel Moolman was sent to the sin bin in the 53rd minute for cyncial play on his own try line when he played the ball on the ground. Griquas then sparked to life and made use of the numerical advantage as first Dimitrio Tieties and then Gideon Bruwer got over the line to bring the score to 17 – 30 in Zim’s favour.

However, the joy was short lived as straight after Bruwer’s try, Zim hit back with their fourth of the match with another set piece try. Gona took the ball to the line before a neat pop found a charging Mandivenga who sliced through the midfield defence and fed Mutukwa  on his right for the winger’s second try of the match. Mandivenga could not add the extras and that was how the score remained, 35 – 17 to Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabweans will be ecstatic with their dominant performance. They were more clinical in their play and had a solid set phase. Their loosies were simply superb at the breakdown and this allowed their talented backline the time and space to run riot.

By Warwick Austin

FT score: Griquas 17 – 35 Zimbabwe

Man of the Match: Flyhalf Rukudzo Gona and centre Munyaradzi Mashaya were the standout players for the Zimbabweans whilst Dimitrio Tieties and Jacques van Zyl impressed for Griquas. But our Man of the Match was an easy choice with Zimbaweans fullback Brendon Mandivenga standing head and shoulders above the rest. A nearl flawless display off the kicking tee was backed up by one try as well as a try assist. He was rock solid at the back and joined the line with great effect.

Griquas Tries: Dimitrio Tieties, Gideon Bruwer Conversions: Dimitrio Tieties (2) Penalties: Dimitrio Tieties

Zimbabwe Try: Jabulani  Mutukwa (2), Munyaradzi Mashaya, Brendon Mandivenga Conversions: Brendon Mandivenga (3) Penalties: Brendon Mandivenga (3) Yellow Card: Daniel Moolman (53rd minute, professional foul/cynical play)

Teams:

Griqualand West: 15 Ryan de Wee, 14 Leon Becker, 13 Dimitrio Tieties, 12 Luke Mason, 11 Kat Mabaleng, 10 Wentzel Matthys, 9 Gideon Bruwer, 8 Jacques van Zyl, 7 Nardus Bosman, 6 BJ Muller, 5 JD Fourie, 4 Thulani Njenje, 3 Doctor Booysen, 2 Daniël van Zyl, 1  Obakeng Pholoholo. Reserves: 16 Willie van Aswegen, 17 DG Brandt, 18 Bradley Leijdekkers, 19 Nico Graaff, 20 Dylan Walsh, 21 Aldro Heyns, 22 Jon-Pierre Abrahams.

Zimbabwe: 15 Brendan Mandivenga, 14 Brandon Boshi, 13 Thomas Chadwick, 12 Munyaradzi Mashaya, 11 Jabulani Mutukwa, 10 Rukudzo Gona, 9 Tinashe Gwisai, 8 Ivan Bawden, 7 Nicholas Burnett, 6 Daniel Moolman, 5 Philangezwi Mudambanuki, 4 Tafadzwa Kufazvinei, 3 Tapiwa Muringani, 2 Alexander Zwart, 1 Thabani Mujeni. Reserves: 16 Stephen Basera, 17 Edo Chikwezvero, 18 Glynne Rorke, 19 Tinashe Gonese, 20 Andrew Dollar, 21 Justin Zietsman, 22 Tawanda Ngosi.

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