YOUNG Sables winger Lance Chikodzi saved the home side from the blushes with a decisive converted try late in the second half as the home side secured a hard fought 13-10 over a determined Kenyan side in their opening CAR U/19 Rugby Championship match at Prince Edward School on Saturday.
With Zimbabwe trailing 6-10 with just over 10 minutes left, Chikodzi burst through the visitors' defence after receiving a pass from flyhalf Tarisai Musakanda before grounding the ball right under the posts.
Musakanda, who had stabbed home two first half penalties coolly, slotted home the conversion from under the sticks to secure a vital win for the home side.
The Young Sables, who are traditionally slow starters in this tournament, were far from impressive, struggling for fluidity with uncharacteristic handling errors and costly poor tackling.
The Kenyans were the first to get off the mark with a close range penalty by Martin Muita in the first 10 minutes.
Musakanda replied 10 minutes later before stabbing another spot kick with three minutes left in the first half.
Zimbabwe's lead proved short-lived as the Kenyans silenced the fans with a try on the stroke of half-time with a converted try by flank Avingo Robert.
Zimbabwe coach Brighton Chivandire said although the performance was not impressive, he was happy that his team had got off the mark.
"Kenya came out to play and a lot of their momentum came from our mistakes and it's something we will have to work on ahead of our game against Tunisia on Wednesday," said Chivandire.
In earlier matches, Zimbabwe's rivals Namibia, opened their campaign with a comfortable 44-7 victory. In the second tier group Harare Select beat Kenya 27-14 while Madagascar stunned Morocco 34-17.
Young Sables winger Lance Chikodzi surges over the try line to score Zim's only try of the match. Pic Knowledge Chingwecha