Cheetahs hope for better fortunes

HARARE - Zimbabwe Sevens rugby side are hoping to get their Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens campaign off to a perfect start when they face Barbados and Chile today in So Kon Po.

The Cheetahs are one of 12 sides vying for the opportunity to join the top sides in the world next season, for a Series which will also act as a part of the Olympic qualification process.

Returning for the fifth year in a row, Zimbabwe has plenty of pace and power as they live up to their nickname — ‘the Cheetahs’. The side reached the Bowl final in 2010 before losing to Russia, and then last year made it into the Shield semi-finals, going down narrowly to Spain.

Prior to their debut appearance in 2008, Zimbabwe qualified for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 1997 where they scored a notable pool victory over Canada.

The 12-team HSBC Sevens World Series pre-qualification tournament will be run simultaneously with the HSBC Sevens World Series competition amongst the 15 core teams on the Series and Asia’s third-ranked side Sri Lanka.

The Cheetahs compete in the pre-qualifiers alongside American Samoa, Barbados, Chile, Cook Islands, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Uruguay.

The African side is in Pool E together with Russia Chile and Barbados.

Hosts Hong Kong top Pool F alongside Italy, Tunisia and American Samoa whilst Japan top Pool G with Cook Islands, Uruguay and Trinidad and Tobago. Zimbabwe complete their pool games against Russia tomorrow.

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