The Zimbabwe senior rugby team, the Sables, received a timely boost ahead of their final tri-nations Victoria Cup match against Kenya after leapfrogging the East Africans on the International Rugby Board (IRB) rankings.
The Sables, who were crowned Victoria Cup champions with a match to spare, moved a place up to number 38, which again is their highest ranking since October 2003.
Their opponents this Saturday, Kenya, on the other hand, were the biggest fallers of the week, dropping three places to 40th following their 32-18 loss to Uganda last Saturday.
The Sables, who won promotion to the Africa Cup Group 1A, before beating both Uganda (home and away) and Kenya (home), will go into this match hoping to maintain their unbeaten run this season.
Sables’ mentor Brendan Dawson told NewsDay Sport he had warned his players against complacency ahead of Saturday’s game.
“We are not going to be taking it any easy just because we have won the tournament because we have to maintain the consistency. We are going to Kenya for nothing short of victory.
“There is still a lot at stake and I have made it clear to the players that they need to give their best,” said Dawson.
The Sables, who are expected to leave today for Kenya, held a joint training session with the Under-19s, who will take part in the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Under-19 Championships which start at Prince Edward this weekend.
Zimbabwe Under-19 coach Brighton Chivandire said they would finalise the squad on Friday.
The Young Sables, who are the defending champions of the tournament, having won the last two editions, are in Pool A alongside bitter rivals Namibia, Tunisia and Uganda. Pool B comprises Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco and Zambia.
Dawson said this was a step in the right direction as in previous years the major hurdle had been bridging the gap between the junior and senior teams.
“It’s nice to be bringing both the Young Sables and the senior side together because we need to bridge that gap and ensure that the youngsters aim to graduate to the senior side like what young Charles Jiji has been doing,” said Dawson.
Besides scrum-half Jiji, some of the players in the current Sables set-up who recently graduated from the Young Sables include fullback Danny Robertson, winger Kuda Chiwanza, prop Brian Makamure, flyhalf Thomas Nelson and hooker Tatenda Karuru.