Kampala — ZIMBABWE raced to three early tries against Uganda in the Victoria Cup, but allowed the hosts to claw back into the tie for a tense finish to the game here yesterday.
Uganda looked like lambs to the slaughter after just 15 minutes when centre Shayne Makombe, eighthman Aiden Burnett and wing Takudzwa Kumadiro all dotted down for tries early on to stun a strong home crowd of about 5 000 at the Legends Rugby Club in Kampala.
The Sables first scored from a great field position. France-based Shayne Makombe finished off after a strong run from the ever-improving young Harare Sports Club flank Blithe Mavesere, who put in a solid shift only in his second Test appearance for the country.
Perhaps even more important for Zimbabwe in their rebuilding exercise was the courageous performance of the youth brigade, and another one to turn up yesterday in a pressure situation was eighthman Aiden Burnett -- the 21-year-old Test debutant who was in the thick of things for the Sables throughout.
Burnett scored Zimbabwe's second try after a sensational attack onslaught.
The former St John's College maestro, a winner of the national rugby title with Hartpury University in the UK this year, crashed over for his first Test try after the Cranes were penalised for not releasing the ball in the ruck.
Uganda looked dead and buried when a swift backline move saw right wing Takudzwa Kumadiro cross in the corner.
Stand-in captain Hilton Mudariki, who produced a mature performance to be made man-of-the-match, converted three of Zimbabwe's five tries.
The Zimbabweans, however, took feet off the pedal late in the first half to allow Phillip Wokorach -- poster boy of Ugandan rugby -- to score four times from the kicking tee, leaving the score 19-12 at half time.
Wokorach recorded Uganda's points except the two second half tries scored by blind-side flank Desire Ayera.
But Zimbabwe wing McNab scored a try that traversed the length of the field and Mavesere capped a memorable afternoon with one that sealed it for the Sables.
"It think we were quick off the blocks, but we allowed them back into the game and got ourselves to their level," said Sables flanker Biselele Tshamala.
"We got a bit complacent, I think. But thankfully we managed to stick together as a team right through to the end. It wasn't the prettiest of wins in the end, but still a good win."