HomeSportSoccerCheetahs off to London Sevens

Cheetahs off to London Sevens

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EUROPEAN sides Scotland, Portugal and Spain will pose the biggest threat to the Zimbabwe Sevens rugby team chances of becoming a core member on the IRB World Sevens Series next season.

Report by Daniel Nhakaniso

The three sides lost their core status at the weekend after failing to finish in the top 12 of the IRB World Sevens Series standings for this season after the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens which ended on Sunday.

They will now head to the London Sevens at the world famous Twickenham Stadium this weekend where they will fight it out with Tonga, Russia, Hong Kong, Georgia and Zimbabwe for three places on IRB World Sevens Series core team list.

The IRB World Sevens Series — which is sponsored by British multinational banking and financial services company HSBC — is a series of nine tournaments played throughout the season in Australia, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, New Zealand, United States, Hong, Kong, Japan, Scotland and England.

Zimbabwe are desperate to gain promotion to core membership as only core members take part in all nine legs.

The 12-man Zimbabwe Sevens side which is affectionately known as the Cheetahs left the country for the London Sevens on Sunday ahead of the crucial tournament and were drawn against Scotland, Georgia and Hong Kong.

Portugal will battle it out with Spain, Tonga and Russia in the other group. The Zimbabwean side has sad memories of their last participation in the IRB World Series promotion and relegation play-offs.

In fact, the Cheetahs could have secured promotion to the elite group last year when they beat Canada 24-21 and led Portugal 17-7 with a minute to play in the final qualifier, for the right to participate in every World Series tournament in 2012-13.

Somehow the Cheetahs imploded and Portugal scored twice before the hooter to win 21-17.

The Cheetahs will, however, head to London better prepared than they were last year having been in camp since the start of the year and will be confident after winning the 12-team IRB World Sevens Series pre-qualifying tournament in Hong Kong Sevens in March.

Cheetahs Squad: Jacques Leitao (c), Fortune Chipendu, Daniel Hondo, Gardner Nechironga, Njabulo Ndlovu, Lucky Sithole, Wensley Mbanje, Japhet Ndebele, Tangai Nemadire, Tapiwa Tsomondo, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Kilvan Magunje

Coach: Gilbert Nyamutsamba, Manager: Bruce Hobson, Physiotherapist: Sophia Stevens

Draw for London7s IRB World Series Qualifier

Pool A: Scotland, Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, Georgia.

Pool B: Portugal, Spain, Tonga, Russia.

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