Sables' date with destiny

HARARE - The Zimbabwe national rugby team comes face to face with destiny in Antananarivo today when they face old foes Kenya in a match they must win to seal a place at next year’s Rugby World Cup.

Brendan Dawson’s charges are precariously seating in second place with six points from their opening two games.

Zimbabwe had got off to great start cleaning Madagascar 57-22 before letting slip a 10 point lead that allowed Namibia to come from behind and emerge 24-20 winners in their second  match.

Today, they meet a Kenyan outfit high on confidence having registered bonus point victories over Namibia (29-22) and hosts Madagascar (34-0).

The Simbas need only to avoid defeat to the Sables this afternoon to confirm their place at the finals in England next year.

However, Zimbabwe still have a mathematical chance to gate crash Rugby’s greatest stage if they can pull off a bonus point win over the East Africans.

It goes without saying; Zimbabwe’s position on the log sees them come into this encounter as rank outsiders to a Kenyan team they have dominated in recent encounters.

The Sables have played the Simbas 15 times since 1981, leading the head to head statistics with 10 wins against their opponents five.

But today, the Daniel Hondo-captained side will know that statistics count for very little in such a high stakes match where a slight margin of error could decide the outcome of the match.

Whilst Kenya, under head coach Jerome Paarwater have been buoyed by a two month stint in the Vodacom Cup as well as the presence of some of their sevens stars.

As for Zimbabwe with the absence of adequate preparation due to empty coffers, it is largely desire, talent and will they hope will carry them over the line.

Namibia, who take on Madagascar later today, are also in with a realistic chance of winning the championships and claiming Africa’s direct berth to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England and Wales.

The Africa Cup champions will join champions New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Georgia in Pool C.

Meanwhile, Sables coach Brendan Dawson made three changes to the team that lost to Namibia on Wednesday.

In a bid to restore parity at the line outs, Keith Murray has been reinstated at hooker in place of Simba Mandioma.

Schalke Ferriera replaces his injured elder brother, Jan Ferriera at lock while Graeme Lawler replaces another injured forward Njabulo Ndlovu at flank.

Sables Starting XV: 1 Denford Mutamangira, 2. Keith Murray, 3. Kevin Nqindi, 4 Sanele Sibanda, 5 Schalke Ferreira, 6.Graeme Lawler, 7. Jacques Leitao, 8. Lambert Groenewald, 9. Hilton Mudariki, 10. Guy Cronje, 11. Stephen Hunduza, 12. Riaan O’neill, 13. Daniel Hondo, (capt) 14. Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, 15. Tangai Nemadire.

Replacements

16.Simba Mandioma, 17.Piet Joubert, 18.Farai Mudariki, 19. Fortune Chipendu, 20.Kingsley Lang 21. Gerald Sibanda, 22.Peter Du Toit, 23. LenienceTambwera.

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