Sables learn RWC qualifying route

HARARE – The Sables will begin their quest to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC) in Japan with a home tie against Morocco next June during the 2018 Rugby Afrique Gold Cup.

The 2018 Gold Cup will act as the final qualifying tournament to select one of the team’s that will join South Africa as two of Africa’s representative’s in the global showpiece in Asia.

Only the top team will qualify automatically for the tournament while the runner up will have another chance at a repechage tournament later on in the year.

The Sables

The Sables

Zimbabwe, who do not have a coach at the moment following Cyprian Mandenge’s sacking following the completion of the 2017 Gold Cup campaign, will then travel to Kenya for their second match on June 30.

The Sables will not have any time to rest as they will travel to Tunisia for their third match of the tournament seven days later before hosting Namibia on August 4.

Zimbabwe will round up their Gold Cup campaign with an away trip to Uganda.

For the country to qualify for a third RWC, the new Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) board which will be voted into office this coming weekend needs a lot of work to do.

The Sables won only a single match against relegated Senegal in the Gold Cup this year before going onto lose four games on the trot.

Rugby Afrique competition director Guedel N’Diaye said: “The fixtures for the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup have been scheduled in consultation with the participating federations and our media partner, Kwese Sports.

“Numerous factors had to be considered for such a busy sporting period, such as the dates of international windows for releasing club players to their national teams and particularly the Rugby World Cup Sevens, which is scheduled to be held between 20 and 22 July. This explains the pause between 7 July and 4 August.

“The rules remain the same for the 2017 season, in that the top three teams will play three home matches and two away matches, while the teams ranked fourth through sixth will travel three times and only host two home matches.”

Rugby Afrique president Abdelaziz Bougja said: “The 2017 Rugby Africa Gold Cup was a genuine success for African rugby in general. The increased playing time for our flagship competition, with the number of matches going from 6 in 2015 to 15 this year, has been a catalyst for the actual pitch performance of Africa’s best rugby nations.”

2018 Rugby Afrique Gold Cup Fixtures

June 16: Zimbabwe v Morocco, Namibia v Uganda

June 23: Namibia v Tunisia, Morocco v Kenya

June 30: Kenya v Zimbabwe, Morocco v Namibia

July 7: Kenya v Uganda, Tunisia v Zimbabwe

August 4: Uganda v Tunisia, Zimbabwe v Namibia

August 11: Uganda v Morocco, Kenya v Tunisia

August 18: Uganda v Zimbabwe, Namibia v Kenya, Tunisia v Morocco