Zimbabwe Cheetahs geared up for World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series

11 Aug, 2022 - 14:08 0 Views
Zimbabwe Cheetahs geared up for World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series Kudzai Mashawi with Ugandan captain Micheal Wokorach

The Sunday News

Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE skipper Kudzai Mashawi was one of the captains of the 12 men’s as well as 12 women’s teams competing at the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2022 in Chile on 12-14 August who gathered on Wednesday in Parque Metropolitano de Santiago in front of the majestic Andes mountain range.

The global event sees teams from all six World Rugby regions represented in a competition format that replicates the Olympic Games with three pools of four teams. As the end of the group matches, the top two from each pool along with the two best third-placed teams will qualify for the quarter-finals, before the semi-finals and final will decide the tournament winners on Sunday.

Kudzai Mashawi with other captains at the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series

First up for the Graham Kaulback coached Zimbabwe is a clash with Hong Kong on Friday before they take on Tonga and Jamaica on Saturday. Mashawi said the team has settled well in Chile since they arrived on Monday with the weather being friendly.

“All good nice weather awesome times, always good vibes,’’ said Mashawi.

Zimbabwe, by virtue of finishing third at the 2019 Africa Men’s Sevens held in South Africa took part in the men’s Challenger Series 2020 which featured two rounds, both played in South America. Japan’s men’s team gained promotion following the inaugural pair of events. This year’s event will see the debut for women’s teams in the Challenger Series after the planned inaugural women’s event scheduled to take place in March 2020 in Stellenbosch, South Africa, was unable to take place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There is plenty of top class experience in the line-up as nine men’s teams have appeared on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series previously as invitational teams. Meanwhile China and Japan have both been core teams on the women’s Series, while another eight women’s teams have played at least once in the Series.

Five of the women’s teams and nine men’s teams competing in Chile have also qualified for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 where they will play in front of an anticipated crowd of 165,000 fans across three days in Cape Town on 9-11 September.

World Rugby Chief Competitions and Performance Officer Nigel Cass said: “The World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series is a vital component of our ambitious plans to develop the sport further across the globe, and with the prize of promotion to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 at stake for the winners, the competition across the three-day event is sure to be intense from start to finish.

“Rugby sevens is a key driver of global growth for our sport, particularly in emerging nations, and it firmly remains a top priority for World Rugby. Following the highly impactful Olympic competition in Tokyo last year, which caught the imagination of many new fans worldwide, the short format game continues to expand and captivate audiences with its dynamic, skillful and exciting nature.”

The schedule for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 has been confirmed with the men’s teams kicking off in Hong Kong on 4-6 November, 2022, while the women’s competition begins in Dubai on 2-3 December as part of a combined event.

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