Cheetahs impress in Hong Kong

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Sevens Rugby team kept their dreams alive of becoming an International Rugby Board Sevens core team with an impressive outing in Hong Kong over the past three days beating Tonga 22-19 in the qualifiers final yesterday.

The Cheetahs will now head for the London leg of the series where the top four teams from the qualifiers Tonga, Russia, Uruguay and bottom three from the World Series will battled it out for three spots available for 2014 World Series.

Zimbabwe side fired from all cylinders with Gardner Nechironga scoring six tries over the weekend.

Italy-based flyer Gareth Ziegler was very instrumental and was involved in a lot of try assists.

The Skipper Jacques Leitao and Daniel Hondo, who are the longest serving members of the side, seem to be getting better with age like fine wine.

The Cheetahs started the final day of the tournament dispatching Brazil 27-7 in the quarter final.

Gilberts Nyamutsamba’s charges finally got their revenge on Russia beating them 19-5 in the semifinals.

Zimbabwe had lost 22-12 to the Europeans in a pool match on Saturday.

Nechironga’s capped off a good weekend in the office with a brace’s in the final which proved to be the difference as they edged out Tonga in a nail biting encounter.

The new addition to the Cheetahs technical team Mathew Nesbitt, who is strength and condition coach, has made a huge impact to the team as the side looked fitter and much sharper than in past years.

Zimbabwe’s approach of turning the sport fully professional is also one reason of the team’s success in Hong Kong.

Cheetahs’ sponsorship manager, David Crouch said: “At the start of the year, Zimbabwe Sevens Rugby however, took a decision to contract a group of 10 players, who are given a monthly wage to subsidise their incomes.

“This decision has resulted in the team being able to train on a consistent basis and improve their levels of strength and conditioning to a level that is in line with the modern game.” - Brian Matamba

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