The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE have gone a place down from 32 to 33 on the World Rugby 15s rankings after their 41-10 defeat to Namibia in the Stellenbosch Challenge final in South Africa on Saturday.
Heading into that final match up with the Welwitschias, the Brendan Dawson coached Sables had received a boost by rising up to 32 in the world, up from 34 following a hard fought 24-22 triumph over Brazil. Against Namibia, Zimbabwe were 7-5 up at the break after loose forward Biselele Tshamala scored a try which was converted by flyhalf Dudlee White-Sharpley. Zimbabwe stretched that lead to 10-5 shortly after the break when White-Sharpley booted in a penalty goal but that was the last time the Zimbabwe scored in the match as Namibia, coached by South African Allister Coetzee took full control of proceedings with 36 unanswered points from there.
Saturday’s match between Zimbabwe and Namibia was a dress rehearsal of what promises to be a semifinal thriller at next year’s Rugby Africa Cup in France, which serves as Africa’s final qualifier for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. At the Rugby Africa Cup, Zimbabwe take on Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals and if they win, they are likely to face off with the Namibians in the semis, that is is Namibia take care of Burkina Faso in the last eight.
Winners of the 2022 Rugby Africa Cup will secure automatic qualification to the 2023 Rugby World Cup to be held in France while runners up also have an opportunity to head to the European country via the repechage.
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