HomeSportRugbySables achieve highest IRB ranking since 2003

Sables achieve highest IRB ranking since 2003

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Sables’ 15-25 win over Uganda in their opening match at the Confederation of African Rugby Africa Cup Division 1B tournament on Sunday saw them climb five places from 47th to 42nd on the International Rugby Board (IRB) rankings which were released on Monday.

According to the IRB website, Zimbabwe’s new ranking is the highest position they have held since the world rankings were introduced by the world rugby’s governing body the IRB in October 2003.

Prior to the tournament Uganda were the highest ranked team in the group on position 41, but fell four places to 45th after the loss, the same position as Madagascar, who Zimbabwe beat 28-22 in the same tournament in Bulawayo last year.

The new rankings come as a boost for the Sables who are gearing up for their decisive second match against Madagascar in Kampala, Uganda, on Wednesday.

If the Sables beat Madagascar on Wednesday, they will earn promotion to Africa Cup group 1A regardless of how Uganda do in the final game on Saturday.

Group 1A is comprised of highly ranked teams like Namibia, Tunisia, Morocco and Kenya who have the right to compete in the World Cup qualifiers.

On the other hand, any slip-up would leave their opponents with a chance, a situation Sables’ team manager Noddy Kanyangarara told NewsDay Sport from Uganda they would aim to prevent at all costs.

“The team played with passion and determination in Sunday’s game. A number of guys were punched and kicked during the match, but that only served to make them want it more. They had belief and that belief carried them through the game and we have to make sure that we take that mentality into the next match.

“Celebrations for Sunday’s victory are short-lived as we have already shifted our attention to the Madagascar game, which we need to win at all cost.

“We don’t want to leave anything to chance by faltering against Madagascar because if we just win, we would have won the tournament,” said Kanyangarara, who expressed gratitude to Chemayde Pharmacy for sponsoring them with a medical kit.

The Sables lead the group with four points, while Uganda have a point which they secured by virtue of having limited their margin of defeat to just five points. Madagascar anchors the group.

A try each by Denford Mutamangira and Gardener Nechironga, a penalty, two conversions and a drop goal by Tichafara Makwanya left Zimbabwe in the driving seat in the competition, needing only a win in their second and final match against Madagascar on Wednesday.

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