THE real men in local rugby won the right to the National Rugby League final after the race was thrown open with Matland Warriors edging out defending champions Old Georgians 18-17 at Hartsfield. While the Bulawayo giants were celebrating a hard-won victory over Grant Mitchells' Dragons, Harare Sport Club coach Blessing "Bhuru" Chiutare commanded his side to a fourth straight final following a 25-6 win over Old Hararians.
Sports Club powered their way to another win in the Battle for Harare making it their third win over bitter rivals in the NRL semi-final.
It was a better performance from Harare Sports Club as they made sure the Old Boys did not get anywhere near the white wash and all they managed were two penalties from the boot of flyhalf and captain Tichafara Makwanya.
It indeed was a day for Sportivo to shine as they displayed good rugby for the better part of the game as their defence stood strong and they had good running lines.
Sports Club flyhalf Lenience Tambwera showed why he got a call-up to the Sables, while winger Steven Hunduza was a marvel to watch at the Lions' Den.
Sports Club were slow starters as the Old Boys were 3-0 up in the sixth minute and added another penalty goal a minute later and that was the last time they scored against Sport Club. Twenty minutes into the game the Red Lions woke up from the deep sleep with captain Daniel Hondo working his way past the Old Boys defence for a goal that saw them take a 7-6 lead and two minutes later they were 12-6 up.
In the second half Sports Club added a penalty and two tries to walk away victors.
However, it was in Bulawayo where a thriller was witnessed as former Young Sables eightman Biselele Thsamala's last minute penalty goal gave his side the ticket to the final following an 18-17 win.
Having just arrived a few hours before the game from his base in Durban, South Africa, Thsamala proved a vital cog in the Warriors attack not only because of the penalty goal but a try as well.
The Warriors drew first blood nine minutes into the match when flank Tshamala followed up an overhead kick from scrumhalf Osmond Lynx to dot the ball down on the right corner and winger Brian Dube added the bonus points.