Rugby Gold Cup Dates Released
RUGBY Africa has released dates for next year’s Gold Cup in which the Zimbabwe Sables will face Morocco and Namibia at home.
The Sables are also scheduled to play three away matches.
The Gold Cup will be used as a qualifier for the 2019 Rugby World Cup to be held in Japan.
Winners of the Gold Cup automatically book a ticket at the global showpiece, while the runners-up will take part in a play-off with runners-up from other continental qualifiers.
The Sables under coach Cyprian Mandenge had a disastrous 2017 campaign and finished second from the bottom with just one win. They were only better than Senegal, who were relegated to the Silver Cup.
Zimbabwe’s first assignment is at home against Morocco, who were promoted from the Silver Cup, on June 16.
On June 30, the Sables take on the Simbas of Kenya away, followed by another away trip to Tunisia on July 7.
Namibia tour Zimbabwe for the first time since 2003 for a clash on August 4.
The last match for the Sables is an away trip to Uganda on August 18.
With elections to choose a substantive Zimbabwe Rugby Union leadership set for this Saturday, those chosen have an immediate task of engaging a Sables coach.
Mandenge’s technical team was disbanded on August 8 and a new Sables coach has to be hired as a matter of urgency to start preparations for the Gold Cup.
The closest Zimbabwe has come to qualifying for the World Cup was at the 2015 tournament when they finished second to Namibia in qualifiers held in Antananarivo, Madagascar, from June 26 to July 6.
Then under the mentorship of former skipper Brendan Dawson, the Sables lost 15-23 to Russia in a repechage qualifier, which shattered their dreams of making the long-awaited return to the World Cup since 1991 when the tournament was jointly hosted by England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France.