Zimbabwe To Host Rugby Africa Cup Matches

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By Sports Reporter

THE Sables have been given a big boost in their bid to qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France after Zimbabwe was confirmed as the host nation for the Rugby Africa Cup Pool D fixtures which are the first phase of qualification for the global tournament.

Zimbabwe was awarded the right to host the tournament after Tunisia’s withdrawal as both hosts and participants in the Rugby Africa Cup Pool D matches following an increase in coronavirus cases in the North African country.

Tunisia had initially been scheduled to host the Sables and Burkina Faso this week in Monastir with the top two placed nations progressing to next year’s knockout stages of the continental tournament which will serve as the final qualifier for the 2023 World Cup.

The Zimbabwe Rugby Union confirmed that the Sables will get to enjoy home advantage when they host Burkina Faso in two matches from July 16 to 22.

“Zimbabwe will now host pool D games after Tunisia failed to host the tournament after a surge in Covid-19 cases which saw them move from an orange to a red zone. Zimbabwe was on standby to host the games as the second highest ranked team in the group,” read a statement from ZRU.

ZRU also confirmed that Tunisia has also withdrawn from the upcoming matches after being denied permission to travel for the tournament by their government, which means Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso will be battling for top position in the two matches to be played under strict Covid-19 guidelines.

“The tournament was dealt a further blow when Tunisia was denied permission to travel to Zimbabwe. This means pool D matches will now be a two- team tournament to establish the ranking for the next stage of the competition in 2022.

“The tournament will now take place between the 16th and 22nd of July with two games being played under strict Covid-19 guidelines with no spectators,’’ concluded the ZRU statement.

Burkina Faso will arrive in Zimbabwe on July 16 and depart on 23 July.

The confirmation of Zimbabwe as new hosts will be a big boost for the Sables who have been in camp in Harare since May 16.

The Sables were initially scheduled to depart for Tunisia on July 4 but the trip was cancelled at the last minute due to Tunisia’s withdrawal as the host nation.

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