Date set for Sables play-off

The International Rugby Board have set August 2 as the day Zimbabwe’s Sables’ will square off with Russia in the Siberian town of Krasnoyarsk, in the first of their play offs towards the 2015 World Cup.

The one match qualifier will be handled by Welsh officials Nigel Owens, Sean Brickell, and Wayne Davies. Asia qualification runners up Hong Kong will play Uruguay, the second team in South America, in Montevideo on the same day.

The winners of the two matches will face each other in a two legged final for that vital place at the finals in England, in which they have already been drawn against Australia, England, Wales and Fiji in Pool A of Rugby’s pinnacle tournament next year.

The Sables went to the Africa World Cup qualifiers in Antananarivo, Madagascar, without any competitive match action after the Zimbabwe Rugby Union scrapped warm-up matches due to financial constraints.

The Zimbabweans have two weeks to prepare for the Russian escapade and Zimbabwe Rugby Union spokesperson David Crouch says they are looking forward for a training camp in South Africa, where rugby is at a very high standard.

The Sables narrowly missed out on automatic qualification after finishing second behind neighbours Namibia in a four team qualifying group that also included Kenya and hosts Namibia, who came out empty handed after losing all their games.

The Zimbabweans, who were Africa’s flag bearers at the 1987 and 1991 World Cup finals, appear to have lost their dominance to the Namibians, who are representing Africa for the fifth time in a row, having been at the global festival in 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2011.

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