Utah, United States — THE Zimbabwe Under-20 side will miss the services of the experienced trio of captain Sean Linfield, prop Ian Muza and winger Justin Coles after they were ruled out for the rest of the Junior World Rugby Trophy tournament.
Having suffered injuries in their 7-43 thrashing at the hands of Georgia on Friday afternoon, the trio cannot carry any more duties as their expected recovery time is longer than the duration of the tournament.
The Young Sables second defeat in the tournament after falling 36-39 to Japan last Monday through a last minute try.
Muza and Linfield suffered ankle injuries while Coles was ruled out due to concussion. Slippery utility backliner, Victor "Jackie" Mushoriwa, is expected to don the Young Sables jersey for the first time tomorrow when they take on Canada.
Mushoriwa had not been able to fit into the Young Sables plans due to a groin injuries he sustained twice during practice sessions last week. But the technical team led by coach Brighton Chivandire received some good news when he was cleared for the third match.
"They beat us in the forwards especially in the set pieces, in the scrums where they out scrummed us and we did not get enough quality ball to the back for the backline to run," said Chivandire.
"From minute 20 to minute 30 it was ugly for us and that is when they ran at us and we missed tackles and we struggled.
"The backline did not get enough ball to run with and that is why they struggled to produce anything for us whereas in the Japan game they had a lot of it and that ball was well used and converted to points."
Georgia depended on their huge forwards who kept starving Zimbabwe of the ball.
The Young Sables' defence was not up to scratch, the forwards had no match for Georgia and the backline was starved of the ball making it difficult for Zimbabwe to penetrate the Georgia defence.
Despite having dominated in the first 20 minutes of the game, Zimbabwe failed to convert pressure into points.
They only did so with a converted try while Georgia's centre Levan Gogolashvili rallied three times to place in the Zimbabwe goal.
The Young Sables try came courtesy of Andries Van Heerdan in the 53rd minute and Linfield took the kick for the bonus points just a few minutes before he suffered his tournament-ending injury.
"They are senior players, those that the junior players would look up to and players that would normally carry that team and without them the new boys were going to struggle.
"But according to the medical team Victor (Mushoriwa) will be back for the Canada game and that is a plus for us," said Chivandire.
Zimbabwe will have to win against Canada tomorrow to meet their target of finishing in the top six.