Now or never for Sables

The Zimbabwe Sables will be walking a tight-rope as they trot onto the pitch for a duel with hosts Russia in the Siberian town of Krasnoyarsk at the weekend.

Daniel Hondo.
Daniel Hondo.

They will be fighting for a place in the final qualifying round of the 2015 World Cup finals to be held in England.

The Sables missed out of automatic qualification after they came second behind Namibia at the Confederation of African Rugby qualifying tournament recently held in Madagascar. A win against Russia would see them play the winner of the other qualifier between Hong Kong and Uruguay.

Coach Brendan Dawson made no major changes in the squad that went to Russia, with the only notable absentees being Tangai Nemadire and Gerald Sibanda. Dawson was brimming with confidence.

“We were unfortunate to lose out to Namibia, but the guys have recovered from that and are ready for the Russia showdown. Everyone is looking forward to the game and I am confident of victory,” he said.

Experience comes in the form of Captain Daniel Hondo, who has been a member of the Sables steam for some time. He expressed confidence that the team would pull down the curtain on Russia’s aspirations of sailing through to the next round.

There are also the likes of Fortune Chipendo, Jacques Laitao, Lambert Groenwald, Riaan O’Neal, Schalk Ferreira, Stephen Hunduza, Tafadzwa Chitongwnido and Guy Cronje.

“This is the best team Zimbabwe has ever produced and I believe we have what it takes to win this particular encounter. They are ranked above us and might be bigger than us, but I’m not concerned,” said Chipendo.

“Let’s go out there and win this match. That is the message from the coach and we intend to do just that. The team is ready and confident we will win.”

Zimbabwe, who represented Africa at the 1987 and 1991 World Cup finals, have lost their way and seen Namibia take over that honour of carrying Africa’s flag since the 1995 finals in South Africa.

South Africa do not play Africa qualifiers as they have automatic entry to the World Cup finals due to their high ranking in the sport. After 23 years of failure, it’s now or never for the Sables.

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