Sables give up pursuit of Ross Cronje

HARARE - Zimbabwe have given up in their pursuit of Golden Lions scrumhalf Ross Cronje for their World Cup qualification campaign, but remain hopeful over his twin brother and teammate Guy.

The Sables’ efforts to assemble a strongest possible squad for the qualification tournament in Madagascar at the end of the month have been frustrated by injuries to some key players, but the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) has also come under fire for deliberately leaving out some proven players out in the cold.

The 24-year-old Cronje twins were both born in South Africa, but trace their roots back to Zimbabwe, which qualifies them for the Sables.

Scrummie Ross Cronje has been a feature in the Lions’ Currie Cup side this season, while brother Guy has made cameo appearances for the Johannesburg franchise at flyhalf.

“Ross is unlucky not to play,” said ZRU director of rugby Liam Middleton, who is also the union’s chief selector.

“Lions are reluctant to release him because they want him for the Currie Cup. As for Guy, it’s looking positive, but the Lions have also not confirmed his release.

“Both are keen to play (for Zimbabwe), but it boils down to them being released.”

Meanwhile, Europe-based forwards – prop Denford Mutamangira, lock Michael Passaportis and flank Kingsley Lang – are already in the country in preparation for the beginning of camp next week.

The rest of the foreign-based contingent is expected to jet in at the weekend.

Zimbabwe will play in a qualification tournament at the end of the month in Madagascar against the hosts, Namibia and Kenya.

The winner of the four-nation even automatically qualifies for next year’s Rugby World Cup in England.

Zimbabwe’s Sables last played in the Rugby World Cup 21 years ago.

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