Politics stymies rugby stars

Pariah status prevents our top African team from competing
DESPITE being ranked second in Africa, Zimbabwe has failed to break in the International Rugby Board's big league because the country is labelled a pariah state.
The IRB Sevens circuit consists of tourname

nts played in Dubai, South Africa, New Zealand, USA, Hong Kong, Australia, England and Scotland from June to December.
It features 16 of the world’s best sides, and currently the core teams are Fiji, England, South Africa, New Zealand, Samoa, Australia, Scotland, France, Tunisia and Argentina.
Bruce Hobson, the Zimbabwe Rugby Union president, said the exclusion of Zimbabwe 7’s team was ‘political’, without elaborating.
“There is a lot of politics at play because we have not been getting the invitation to join the IRB circuit for the last two years despite our good performance. “Zimbabwe is now stigmatised because of the situation in the country. Nobody is friendly to us,” said a rugby executive, who requested anonymity.
Hobson, the Zimbabwe Rugby Union president, also doubles as the Zimbabwe Sevens manager.
Zimbabwe’s fine performance in the past two months in the Confederation of African Rugby Sevens tournaments has seen them move into second place on the African rankings, behind South Africa.
Liam Middleton’s men finished second in the Kenya Tusker’s Safari Sevens tournament on 10 June when they fell 19-27 to the Emerging Springboks of South Africa. The Tusker’s was being used as one of the tournaments to rank the Confederation of African Rugby teams.
A week earlier, the Cheetahs were in Zambia where they steered themselves to glory, winning the Castle Sevens floating trophy.
Hobson said the ultimate goal of the squad is to be a core team on the IRB circuit. Zimbabwe participated in two fixtures on the IRB circuit in Dubai and George (South Africa) last year as a result of their good showing in 2005.
The Cheetahs played superbly in Dubai, beating France 19-7 for the second consecutive year. However, the team was overwhelmed by a well-drilled England, losing 0-29 before going down to Scotland 17-19, in other matches.
Zimbabwe also beat Kenya 12-0 in the bowls’ quarter-final, their first win over Kenya since 2003, when they played them on four occasions. The Cheetahs also beat traditional rivals Tunisia 17-10 before succumbing to Argentina 7-26 in the bowls’ finals.
In George, Zimbabwe lost to Samoa 14-26 and 7-45 to Fiji. In the final game against the Canadians, Zimbabwe were nailed 0-19.

Post published in: Zimbabwe Sports News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *