The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Happy Times for Mutamangira

AYR Rugby Football Club prop, Denford Mutamangira, helped his side to a memorable victory that ensured the Millbrae men were once again crowned champions of Scotland with a 39-13 thrashing of Currie on Saturday.

The Zimbabwean star won his first Scottish league championship title having joined Ayr mid-way last season.

It is the second Scottish championship title in five years for Ayr.

"Winning the league championship is just sweet because we have been rewarded for the efforts and hard work we have put throughout the season and, for me, it is a great achievement because last year we came out empty-handed," said Mutamangira.

"We missed it last season but this season we had a few additions (new players) to the club, there was good team spirit, togetherness, and we played as a unit, especially in defence, where we are the best in the league.

"The fact that there were few changes to our side means that we were able to maintain continuity as we still had most of the players from the previous season."

One of the players who came on to the Millbrae ship this season -- flanker Shingi Mpofu -- did not feature prominently in the First XV and recently suffered a knee injury that has kept him out for five weeks.

Mutamangira and Mpofu both played for Harare Sports Club before their trips to Scotland where winger Gerald Sibanda also joined second-placed Galashiels in the same league.

"All the players were hungry that we missed out on the championship last season, we missed out on the British and Irish Cup as well, but we are singing a different song altogether this season because we want to get all we can," said Mutamangira.

"We have won the league, already, and we are still in the running for the British and Irish Cup and we're playing in the quarter-finals this weekend and we need to win that as well.

"I believe we have the fire-power to do well in the British and Irish Cup, we have the quality to get the results." Galashiles were still in the running for the championship at the weekend, needing to win the two remaining games with Ayr losing their matches.

But that wasn't to be.

"We were not worried about how Galashiles were playing or that we needed to win by what margin because all we knew was that we needed three points from these last two games so winning on Saturday was all we wanted," said Mutamangira.

"We actually only got to know that Galashiles had lost their game after we had won against Currie and that did not spoil our mood, anyway."

A few weeks ago Mutamanguira was battling an injury but has been brilliant since his return.

"So with that form I really was looking forward to a place in the starting XV and the two Man-of-the-Match awards really boosted my confidence given that I was coming from an injury.

"But the rugby I have played here over the last year has made me learn a lot, there are no easy games, they are all tough and very physical so as a player I just have to give my best."

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