Sables face a stern test against Netherlands

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By Sports Reporter

THE Sables will have an opportunity to make significant strides on the World Rugby Rankings when they face higher-ranked European side Netherlands in a high-profile international Test match at the Rugby Stadium in Amsterdam on Saturday.

Zimbabwe’s senior national rugby side can jump six places up on the World Rugby ranking if they can beat the Netherlands by a margin of more than 15 points, according to permutations released by World Rugby ahead of the match.

Heading into the clash, Netherlands are the better-ranked team in 26th on the global standings while Zimbabwe are ranked number 34.

The Netherlands cannot improve their position with victory over Zimbabwe as they can only gain a maximum of 0.38 rating points.

This would mean they will still trail Russia above by at least 1.37 rating points.

Zimbabwe will drop below Kenya if beaten by their hosts in Amsterdam while a draw would see the Netherlands drop below Belgium and Zimbabwe climb two places to position 32.

Ahead of the match against the Dutch, Zimbabwe have three uncapped players in their starting line-up with teenage fullback Takudzwa Musingwini and loose forwards, Jason Fraser and Nyasha Tarusenga set to make their debuts.

Saturday’s match comes exactly a week before the Zimbabwe side begin their Rugby Africa Cup 2022 campaign in France and is the final opportunity for Sables players to stake their claim for a place in the Rugby Africa Cup quarterfinal against Ivory Coast on July 2.

This year’s Rugby Africa Cup, which will be held in France from July 1 to 10, 2022 also serves as the final round of the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifying for African countries.

Winning against the higher-ranked Netherlands side in Amsterdam would pour even more confidence into a side who are aiming to win this year’s continental competition and qualify Zimbabwe for their first Rugby World Cup since 1991.

Sables’ Starting 15s: Tyran Fagan, Matthew Mandioma, Cleopas Kundiona, Sean Beevor, Godfrey Muzanargwo, Jason Fraser, Biselele Tshamala, Nyasha Tarusenga, Hilton Mudariki (captain), Marcus Nel, Shingirai Katsvere, Takudzwa Chieza, Matthew McNab, Shayne Makombe, Takudzwa Musingwini

Replacements: Liam Larkan, Victor Mupunga, Bornwell Gwinji, Godwin Mangenje, Johan du Preez, Kyle Galloway, James Forrester, Ngoni Chibuwe