Buoyed by a convincing 28-16 away victory over Senegal in the opening match of the 2017 Africa Rugby Gold Cup, the senior men’s rugby team, the Sables trooped into camp to brace up for a crunch fixture against the mighty Namibians in Windhoek this Sunday.
Sables head coach Cyprian “Supa” Mandenge said he made several changes to the team although there are no major injuries besides the usual bruises, niggle and knocks.
The 2017 Africa Gold Cup is doubling up as qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the team that finishes last will be relegated to the 2018 Silver Cup and eliminated from the world cup qualification.
The 2017 Rugby Africa season contains a series of rugby unions.
The tournament organised by Rugby Africa is 6 team competition which is being played on a round robin basis from June to August involving Kenya, Namibia, Senegal, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s Sables beat Senegal in their opening match 28-16, three tries by Takudzwa Kumadiro and another by Stephen Hunduza, as well as conversion by Lenience Tambwera, a penalty each by Hilton Mudariki and Tichafara Makwanya ensured a crucial away victory.
After the away game to Namibia this Sunday, the Sables will host Kenya on July 22 in Bulawayo and Tunisia in Harare on the 29th and travel to Uganda on 5 August.
Zimbabwe need to win the group 1 qualifiers in order to fight for a berth at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The Sables had a disappointing season in which they failed to win a single game during the Africa Cup group one, succumbing to two defeats in the Africa Cup on its return to the police grounds after an absence of nearly two decades.
The Sables were mauled 61-15 by Kenya and 27-34 by Uganda at the police grounds while preparations were marred by issues surrounding the players’ welfare and allowances.
Zimbabwe have renewed hope of qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and need to make up for a lack of a competitive league and absence of some of the foreign based players they blamed for the defeats to Kenya and Cranes of Uganda.