By Anashe Murombedzi
THE Zimbabwe National rugby team, the Sables had a lukewarm year ahead of the 2023 World Cup Qualifiers, slated for France next year.
The Sables ended the year 2021 with mixed results after flattering to deceive in the few matches they played.
The Sables have qualified for two rugby World Cups and used 2021 as a preparation for the World Cup Qualifiers set for next year.
The National rugby team comprehensively beat Burkina Faso in two test matches played in Harare to qualify for the qualifiers for next year.
In the second half of the year, they participated at the World Rugby sanctioned Stellenbosch Challenge in South Africa where they met Brazil for the first time and made a historic victory over higher-ranked Americans.
The Brazilians were closer enough to claim victory but the Sables were solid to win the match that saw them moving two places from 34 to 32 in the rankings.
The test challenge continued with the Sables securing a place in the finals against their perennial nemesis, Namibia and it was the same old story as the team was thrashed by 30 points by a rebuilding Namibian team.
The Sables will play Cote D’Ivoire in the World Cup Qualifiers and if they are successful they will meet the winner between Namibia and Kenya in the other semi-final.
On the local front, only sevens rugby was possible as Bulawayo, Gweru and Harare rugby boards all hosted weeks of sevens’ series.
On the downside, it’s more than four years without a national league running, with the Zimbabwe Rugby Union managing to organise a Super six tournament in 2018.