Sables Face Morocco, Namibia At Home In Rugby World Cup Qualifiers

RUGBY Africa have released dates for next year’s Gold Cup with the Zimbabwe Sables to face off with Morocco as well as Namibia at home while their other three fixtures are away.

Next year’s Gold Cup will be used as a qualifier for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan with the winners automatically booking their ticket at the global showpiece while the team in second place will head off to a playoff with other runners-up from other continental qualifiers.

The Sables, under the tutelage of Cyprian Mandenge, had a disastrous 2017 campaign which saw them finish second from bottom, with just win, only better than Senegal who were relegated to the Silver Cup. Zimbabwe’s first assignment is on 16 June at home against Morocco who were promoted from the Silver Cup.

On 30 June, the Sables take on the Simbas of Kenya away, with a trip to Tunisia next for a clash with the North Africans on 7 July.

Namibia makes the trip to Zimbabwe for the first time since 2003, with the Welwitschias to face off with the Sables on 4 August. The last match for the Sables is an away trip to Uganda where they face the Rugby Cranes on 18 August.

With elections to choose a substantive leadership for ZRU to be held on Saturday, those chosen have an immediate task of engaging a Sables coach. Mandenge had his technical team disbanded on 8 August which means a new Sables coach has to be hired as a matter of urgency to start preparing for the Gold Cup.

The best Zimbabwe came to qualifying for the World Cup was for the 2015 tournament where they finished in second place to Namibia during qualifiers held in Antananarivo, Madagascar from 26 June to 6 July. Under the mentorship of former skipper Brendan Dawson, the Sables went on to lose 23-15 to Russia in a repechage qualifier which shattered their dreams of making a return to the World Cup where they last participated in 1991 when the tournament was jointly hosted by England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France.

@Mdawini_29

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