Sables' RWC hopes take another knock

HARARE - Zimbabwe's hopes of qualifying for next year’s Rugby World Cup continue to be frustrated after the team’s fine-tuning tour to South Africa was cancelled yesterday due to lack of funds.

This is the second time the Sables have been forced to abandon warm-up matches ahead of the qualifying tournament to be hosted by Madagascar at the end of the month. 

The Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) last month claimed a European team had cancelled a two-test match tour here following media publication of alleged racism in the local game.

After that setback, the ZRU approached three provincial unions in South Africa for three matches against the first-class sides en route to Madagascar.

The unions reportedly agreed to host the Sables, but handicapped with empty doffers, ZRU has finally given up in its hunt for a sponsor to bankroll the team’s preparations.

The latest development means the Sables will now go into the qualifiers without playing any meaningful warm-up games, as opposed to their opponents, who have been fine-tuning against top opponents.

The Sables will now go into a 10-day camp in Harare before departing for the tournament.

“Zimbabwe Rugby has recently had the misfortune of a sponsor withdrawing their support for the Sables in late stages of negotiation,” read a ZRU statement yesterday.

“Previous efforts with other corporates have not come to fruition for the Rugby World Cup Qualification programme. Zimbabwe Rugby has subsequently come to the decision that they will revert to a 10-day camp in Harare prior to the qualification tournament in Harare and not travel to Messina for 2 scheduled warm up matches for the team.

“Further compounding the issue has been the fact that the local union are not in a financial position to cover the hosting expenses of the Zimbabwe team during the 4 days in Messina. Plans to strengthen the relationship with the home union are now directed towards playing a series of matches in February and June 2015. Funding that has been raised for the Sables efforts will subsequently be directed towards player assembly and a camp in the nation’s capital from June 16 and June 26. During this camp, a Possibles v Probables match will be held on June 20. A high profile scrumming coach from South Africa is also expected to join the camp to assist with technical assistance in this area as well as providing assistance to local referees in the officiating of scums in the country.

“Efforts to find additional funding that will support the team's preparations continue to take place. Positive news has recently been that Supersport will to cover all the World Cup Qualification games in Madagascar, Zimbabwe Rugby can subsequently offer corporate partners with heightened visibility during the qualification tournament, should they support the team in Madagascar.”

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.

Comments (2)

Why has the rugby union not gone down the same route as Namibia and Kenya and actually hosted matches. Surely this would be a lot cheaper. WP and the Bulls have gone to Windhoek for matches, why not look at getting the Sharks ( really strong ties to Zim ) or the Lions to come up while Super rugby is on break. Years of hard work are going to get flushed down the toilet here.

Dan - 11 June 2014

ZRU have a calendar and can run a budget on it.All there are telling us is they are ill prepared and they don't want to see rugby grow. they need to work on sponsor were there is transparency with parties involved. Only then do you get sponsors who will sponsor because they will see when their money is not put for the use intend. I LOVE RUGBY AND NOW AM AWAY WERE RUGBY IS RICH INSTEAD OF BEING THERE AT HOME.

warren chimene - 12 June 2014

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.