Zimbabwe resist Russian comeback

(IRB.COM) Saturday 30 June 2012
 
 Zimbabwe resist Russian comeback
Russia's Roman Roshchin evades the Zimbabwe defence to score during the seventh/eighth-place play-off in Salt Lake City. Photo: David Brinton

Zimbabwe ended a tough outing at the Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012 on a positive note. The Sables finally broke through into the winning column, using an early scoring outburst to hold on for a 22-10 victory over Russia in the seventh/eighth-place match.

Zimbabwe enjoyed a quick start to the match. James Forrester got the Sables on the board first when he converted a penalty kick to make it 3-0 in the fifth minute. Zimbabwe went up 8-0 a minute later when Joshua Broomberg broke free from trailing defenders and raced down the left side to score a try.

The Sables continued their domination throughout the first half. They capitalised on weak spots in the Russian defense and burst through the gaps for easy points. Tapiwa Tsomondo raced down the right line untouched after breaking through one such gap to make it 15-0 for the Sables. Then, a series of pitches inside the 22 opened up a lane for McLean Muhambi to punch in a try down the left side to increase Zimbabwe's lead to 22-0 in the 35th minute.

Russia had only a few chances to add points in the first half and misfired on the majority of those opportunities. They missed a pair of penalty kicks that would have cut into the lead. Roman Roshchin finally broke the scoring drought just before half with a try to cut the Sables' lead to 22-5.

The Bears made a late push to get back into the match. Vladislav Sozonov took a pitch from German Godlyuk and barreled across the goal line in the 72nd minute for a try that made it 22-10.  Zimbabwe's defence stiffened in the final minutes, however, and prevented a true comeback from materialising.

Zimbabwe suffered a blow in the 63rd minute when Andries van Heerden was taken off the pitch on a stretcher with a suspected broken arm.