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Cheetahs brace for draw

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ZIMBABWE’s sevens rugby team will be waiting anxiously to see who they will face at the World Cup when the pool allocation draw for the Sevens Rugby World Cup is conducted in Russia today.

The pool allocation draw, which will take place at the historic Petroff Palace in Moscow, will determine who the 24 teams will face during the pool phase of global event which takes place at the Luzhniki Stadium from June 28-30.

With exactly four months before the start of the tournament, the Cheetahs — as the Zimbabwe side is affectionately known — will be desperate to know who they will face in Russia come June.

In a statement yesterday, the International Rugby Board (IRB) said the draw will see the participating teams being split into six pools of four teams.

“The men’s event will be split into six pools of four teams, with the top team from each pool, together with the two best runners-up progressing to Cup quarter-
finals. The defending champions are Wales,” said the IRB in a statement yesterday confirming the format.

The draw will be conducted using the seedings from the past two full HSBC Seven World Series seasons.

Top-ranked teams New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa, Samoa, England and Australia have been seeded in the first of the four bands, while Cheetahs are in the third band alongside Canada, Portugal, Spain and Russia.

The Cheetahs qualified for the World Cup after winning a regional qualifying tournament in Morocco last September to join Tunisia, South Africa and Kenya as the continent’s representatives in Russia. South Africa and Kenya have both already qualified for the tournament due to their core status on the HSBC World Sevens Series.

Zimbabwe will be making their fourth appearance at the Sevens Rugby World Cup in Moscow having qualified for three previous editions in 1991, 2001 and 2009.

The country’s best ever run at the tournament came during their last outing in Dubai three years ago where they won the Bowl Trophy.

IRB and Rugby World Cup Limited chairman Benard Lapasset said all was set for the much-awaited draw and the global sevens rugby tournament.

“Anticipation for this tournament is rising day by day and the race to secure the best possible ranking for the draw has been compelling with all teams putting in astonishing performances during the HSBC Sevens World Series and IRB Women’s.

“The global community can be very proud of this tournament. It is one of the most exciting and spectacular sporting events in the world and the fact it is coming to one of the most vibrant capital cities on earth is yet another reason to be excited.

“We are confident that all the pillars are in place to deliver what will be an exceptional three-day festival of exceptional sport, music, culture, entertainment and hospitality at a world class venue.”

The four bands of six for the men’s draw are as follows:
Band 1: New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa, Samoa, England, Australia
Band 2: Wales, Argentina, France, Kenya, Scotland, USA
Band 3: Canada, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Tonga, Zimbabwe
Band 4: Japan, Hong Kong, Georgia, Tunisia, Philippines, Uruguay

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