Zimbabwe Sables brace for Namibia challenge in Rugby World Cup qualifiers

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By Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S bid to qualify for the first Rugby World Cup in 31 years will face its biggest hurdle yet when they face rivals in the semi-finals of the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 in Marseille, France on Wednesday.

The Sables booked their place in the last four of the continental competition after defeating Ivory Coast 38-11 in their quarterfinal clash at the Stade Delort, Marseille, France on Friday night.

Earlier Namibia had hammered Burkina Faso 71-5 in the first quarter-final match.

Zimbabwe now takes on Namibia at Stade Maurice David, Aix-en-Provence on Wednesday while the other semi-final will pit Kenya against Algeria after the two nations won their quarterfinal matches against Uganda and Senegal respectively.

The winners of the two semi-finals will meet in the final scheduled for July 10 where the winners will take their place in Pool A at Rugby World Cup 2023, alongside France, New Zealand, Italy and Uruguay. The runners-up will head into the Final Qualification Tournament.

The Brendan Dawson-coached Sables will head into Wednesday’s encounter knowing that only a win will be enough to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

Namibia, whose rugby side is also known as the Welwitschias have dominated past meetings between the two teams.

Namibia won the last clash against Zimbabwe in November last year 41-10 in the Stellenbosch Challenge played in South Africa.

Zimbabwe last beat Namibia in July 2001 when they triumphed 27-26 in an African Championship fixture played at Hartsfield Rugby Ground.

The Sables have only triumphed three times against the Namibians in 33 matches, which means they have an uphill task ahead of them on Wednesday.

However, Zimbabwe will be buoyed by their preparations ahead of the Rugby Africa Cup which saw them competing in the Currie Cup in South Africa while they recently registered a big win against higher-ranked Netherlands.