BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
THE Sables have been praised for their sportsmanship after offering to have a joint training session with Burkina Faso barely a couple of days after handing the west African minnows a humiliating 101-3 defeat in a Rugby Africa Cup Pool D at Old Georgians Sports Club in Harare.
Zimbabwe coach Brendan Dawson and his technical team took the Sables and the Burkina Faso players through their paces during the training session in the capital yesterday morning ahead of the two teams’ second pool D match at the same venue tommorow.
The kind gesture by the Sables did not go unnoticed, with the continental rugby governing body Rugby Africa praising Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe shared a gesture of solidarity and highlighted their commitment to growing African rugby by having a training session with Burkina Faso after beating them 101-3. #WhyWePlay #AfricaAsOne #RugbyAfricaCup,” said Rugby Africa on Twitter yesterday.
The Sables gesture of solidarity also charmed the Rugby Africa executive and women’s rugby advisory committee chairperson Paulina Lanco, who is currently in the country.
“Truly a humbling moment to witness as the Zimbabwe coach (Brendan Dawson) took them through the drills. Most definitely the highlight of my visit … #WhyWePlay #BuildingCharacter #SpiritOfSportsmanship #AfricaAsOne,” she said.
The Sables showed the huge gulf between the two sides after scoring 16 unanswered tries in the opening pool D match on Sunday to get their bid to qualify for their first World Cup in three decades off to a flying start.
Zimbabwe are ranked 34th on the latest World Rugby rankings, while the Burkina Faso Stallions dropped one place to position 91 after the heavy defeat.
Dawson’s charges are now guaranteed to finish in top position in pool D ahead of the second match between the two teams tommorow.
Zimbabwe will face Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals of the Rugby Africa Cup next year, while Burkina Faso face another tough task against Namibia in the knockout phase of the tournament which will double as the final phase of qualification for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Unlike other Rugby Africa Cup pools which have three teams, pool D was reduced to just two teams following the withdrawal of Tunisia as both hosts and participants in the competition due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the north African country.
- Follow Daniel on Twitter @danielnhakaniso