Zimbabwe Cheetahs in tough Dubai Sevens draw

Highlights of Zimbabwe at the 2008 Dubai Rugby 7’s Tournament

The Zimbabwe Cheetahs 7’s rugby side will compete in a tough group in this years Dubai Rugby Sevens tournament.

To be held from the 4th to the 5th of December, Zimbabwe were drawn in the same pool with former champions Fiji, Samoa and Scotland in the 16-team competition. Zimbabwe will go into the tournament with mixed emotions as they managed an impressive run to get to the final  of the recent Trustco international tournament in Windhoek, but then lost heavily to South African in that final ( 14-61).

Zimbabwe’s match against Samoa is will be the second game of the opening day’s fixtures, from there the Zim Cheetahs take on Fiji before meeting Scotland in their final group game.

South Africa have the  number one seed at the Dubai tournament followed by Fiji, England and New Zealand.

Although they did well in Namibia, the Cheetahs know they have to be at their best at the Dubai to progress past the pool stages of the tournament. How well Zimababwe do is also important for them to be considered for more world series tourneys.

IRB Sevens manager Beth Coalter said Zimbabwe could be invited to the Hong Kong tournament should they impress the world rugby governing body in Dubai and in South Africa.

“I am pleased to confirm Zimbabwe’s Sevens team’s participation in the 2009/2010 series in the Dubai tournament (4-5 December) and South Africa (11-12 December). “Following the team’s performance in these two tournaments, Zimbabwe would also be invited to participate at the Hong Kong tournament (26-28 March). “I look forward to Zimbabwe participating once again in this year’s series,” read part of the letter from Coalter.

Cheetahs manager Bruce Hobson believes his side has the potential to impress in Dubai and South Africa and win a call to more IRB events. “We will do our best to be invited to Hong Kong,” said Hobson. “Our Sevens campaign has intensified this year with more interest as a result of the positive things from the Sevens World Cup.” “We have concentrated on developing a squad of 22 players who could be competitive enough to play in the IRB World Series.” “In this respect our Sevens Academy continues to provide the training vehicle for our Sevens throughout the year so that we build on our player base in case of injuries and player non-availability,’’ said Hobson.

Zimbabwe  won the Castle Sevens in Zambia in June, managed their first silverware at the World Cup where they won the Bowl, and were brilliant at the Trustco International where they beat such experienced sides like Argentina and Portugal.

Key players like Cleopas Makotose, Gerald Sibanda, Gordon Pangeti, Wesley Mbanje, Daniel Hondo, Willis Magasa and Ryan Manyika, have recently been missing from the side and it is hoped that they will return for Dubai, so that Zim can field the strongest team possible.

The new faces to look out for in Zimbabwe 7’s colours include Scotty Jones, Bruce Chibesa, Graham Kaulbach, and Busani Ndlovu.

More information on Zimbabwe Rugby: http://www.zimbabwerugby.com