Cheetahs begin WC hunt

HARARE - The Zambezi Cheetahs get their 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens campaign with a Pre-Round of 16 clash against Wales at the AT&T Park in San Francisco, United States this afternoon.

Kick-off is 11:07pm Zimbabwe time.

Gilbert Nyamustamaba’s side, who are the lowest ranked African side, have been seeded in 21st place for this tournament, need to beat the 12th seeded Welsh side.

There is no margin for errors for the Cheetahs in San Francisco because the tournament has changed format with no more round robin stages.

The winner between the Cheetahs and Wales will proceed to play against the hosts, USA in the Round of 16 clash tomorrow.

Under Nyamutsamba, the Cheetahs finished 13th at RWC Sevens 2013, an improvement from their position four years earlier when they came 17th after winning the Bowl.

Zimbabwe qualified for this year’s event after reaching the Rugby Afrique Sevens final last October, a 10-7 defeat to hosts Uganda denying the side a fourth continental title.

This will be the fifth time the Cheetahs have appeared on the RWC Sevens stage, having competed at the 1997, 2001, 2009 and 2013 tournaments.

Germany-based gasman Tafadzwa Chitokwindo scored a couple of tries during the side’s run to the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong qualifier in April and is one of the main weapons out wide for the Cheetahs.

Meanwhile, the Cheetahs received a huge boost ahead of the start of the tournament when the team received rugby boots from Japanese sportswear apparel manufacturer, Mizuno yesterday.

The players all got a pair of Mizuno Morelia Neo boots which are made from some of the softest kangaroo leather to ensure comfort and balance on the pitch.

“Crafted from the finest leather, this premium football boot gives you an unrivalled barefoot feel and a secure fit,” Mizuno describe the boot on the website.

“The graded sole plate ensures flexibility and durability, while the external heel counter creates superior foothold and balance, so you can move quickly and in every direction.”

Speaking to the Wales Rugby Union website yesterday, centre Cory Allen, who is part of Gareth Williams' squad in San Francisco is targeting a win against the Cheetahs. 

“It is going to be different to previous Sevens’ events because there are no pool stages anymore. In the past you could probably afford to drop a game, but now it's sudden death and there is absolutely no room for error,” Allen said.

“That first game against Zimbabwe is already a cup final as is every other game. I think it makes the competition even better. The way it is set up this year there are big gaps between games and there aren't four games in one day.

“Zimbabwe have got some really good individuals who are very fast and physical. It will be a big test for us. We've got to be fully focused on them because if we underestimate them, we will be out.”

Comments (1)

Good luck - Wales is a Rugby nation , well.....and sheep on the mountains.

Duke of Matebele - California - 21 July 2018

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