Zim 7s qualify for World Cup

RABAT - ZIMBABWE’S national sevens rugby team yesterday qualified for the 2013 IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup after beating Tunisia 32-12 in the final of an Africa Zone qualification tournament in Rabat, Morocco, yesterday.

And since two qualification slots were on offer, both the Cheetahs and Tunisia sealed passage to the World Cup by virtue of reaching yesterday’s final.

On their way to the final, Zimbabwe proved too strong for Ivory Coast and Namibia, beating both by a 26-7 scoreline, before a tougher battle in the Pool B decider with Tunisia, who they edged 10-0.

They then beat minnows Nigeria 19-14 in the semifinals.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Cheetahs player Gerald Sibanda — who missed the Morocco tournament because he was making his debut for new club Gala against Currie in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday — congratulated his Zimbabwe teammates for their success.

“Congrats to my Zim boys, Cheetahs have qualified for second consecutive rugby 7s World Cup, its hooray, great work from Bruce (Hobson, team manager), Gidza (coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba) and the boys — Russia 2013,” posted Sibanda.

Zimbabwe and the Tunisians will now join fellow African sides South Africa and Kenya, who automatically qualify for the World Cup by virtue of being core members of the IRB World Sevens circuit.

There have been six Sevens World Cups since the inaugural tournament was held in 1993 in Scotland, the birthplace of rugby sevens.

Wales are the current world champions having won the competition in 2009.

Fiji have won the tournament twice. New Zealand and England have both won a single tournament each, while both Australia and South Africa have reached the finals, but have not secured a title.

The winners of the tournament are awarded the Melrose Cup, named after the Scottish town of Melrose where the first rugby sevens game was played.

Zimbabwe have participated in three previous Sevens World Cups.

They came 21st in the 1997 and 2001 tournaments before putting on a huge performance in 2009 in Dubai to famously beat Ireland 17-14 and win the tournament’s Bowls section.

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