CELL C Community Cup champions, Rustenburg Impala, kicked off their Confederation of African Rugby Africa Cup campaign in style with a 61-17 win over Mauritius at the Botswana National Stadium in Gaborone on Sunday.
Impala, who were invited to represent South Africa at the week-long IRB-sanctioned tournament that also features hosts Botswana, Nigeria, Swaziland and Zambia, encountered spirited opposition from the Indian Ocean islanders in the first half before pulling away after the break.
Tries to flanker Leon du Plessis, eighthman and skipper Nelis Nel and centre Dumisani Matyeshana – all converted by flyhalf Willie Kok – gave Impala a hard-fought 21-10 half-time lead.
The North West miners scored another six in an action-packed second stanza, which saw Matyeshana notch a brace and Du Plessis complete his hat-trick to go with tries from lock Henro Huyser, scrumhalf Jermaine Appollis and centre Justin St Jerry. Kok, a standout for Impala at scrumhalf during the Community Cup, converted eight of the nine tries for a personal haul of 16 points.
Impala will play hosts Botswana, currently 75th in the latest IRB rankings, in Wednesday's main match, before finishing off the tournament against 81st-ranked Nigeria on Saturday.
Wednesday 18 June:
Nigeria v Swaziland (12h30)
Zambia v Mauritius (14h30)
Botswana v Rustenburg Impala (16h30)
Saturday 21 June:
Mauritius v Swaziland (12h30)
Rustenburg Impala v Nigeria (14h30)
Botswana v Zambia (16h30)