Uganda started the Victoria Cup on a losing note, falling to Zimbabwe 31-26 at Legends Rugby Ground on Saturday.
The Sables capitalized on Rugby Cranes slow start to the game and ran in three quick tries inside ten minutes.
Takudzwa Kamadiro used his pace to beat Uganda’s backline for the first try of the game in the first minute and four minutes later, Aiden Burnett went over from a driving maul with skipper Hilton Mudariki adding the twos.
Before the fans could take in the first two tries, The Cranes were drawn in and the Sables went out wide on the right and Kamadiro got his second that Mudariki converted for a 19-00 lead inside ten minutes.
The Cranes started to chip away and were within seven points (12-19) at halftime thanks to Philip Wokorach’s boot. The full-back slotted in three penalties and a drop goal as the Cranes put the visitors under pressure.
After the break, the hosts were still in ascendance and Ivan Magomu broke the line before offloading to Desire Ayera to touch down. Wokorach converted and Legends was back to life.
Robert Sseguya, Uganda’s head coach, started to look to his bench and Aaron Ofoyrwoth was the first to come when he replaced Paul Epilo. But it was the Rugby Cranes on the receiving end again as Matthew McNad found space on the left to run through and put Zimbabwe back into the lead.
Sables once again drew in Cranes on the right but once they got the ball to the other side of the pitch, the hosts were outnumbered and Shane Makombe also got his second of the game with man of the match Mudariki converting for a 31-19 lead.
The Cranes went hunting again and Ayera powered over for his second thanks to Pius Ogena’s hard work. Wokorach converted to pull the hosts within a try but Zimbabwe was able to hang on for the win.