Zimbabwe plays Kenya in the CAR tournament in Madagascar. Photo: IRB
After narrowly missing out on victory in the CAR Africa Cup last Sunday, Zimbabwe face the journey to Siberia where they will take on Russia in the town of Krasnoyarsk.
The one-off match – the first ever meeting between the two countries – will take place on Saturday 2 August, and will be refereed by Nigel Owens of Wales with fellow countrymen Sean Brickell and Wayne Davies appointed as assistant referees.
Following the conclusion of the CAR Africa Cup, Zimbabwe are currently ranked 27th in the IRB World Rankings – seven places below the Bears, who have yet to taste victory since Raphael Saint-Andre replaced Kingsley Jones as head coach for the IRB Nations Cup in June.
Namibia celebrate yesterday after winning the Africa Cup and a spot in Pool C of the RWC 2015. Photo: IRB
Namibia yesterday qualified for Rugby World Cup 2015 after claiming the Confederation Africaine de Rugby Division 1A title in dramatic fashion in Antananarivo.
Needing to win their final match against Madagascar by 53 points, the 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 participants produced an inspired performance to run out 89-10 winners, claim the Africa Cup and a place alongside New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Georgia in Pool C at England 2015.
At the beginning of a gripping day, the Namibians were outside hopefuls at best, but Zimbabwe’s 28-10 win against Kenya, denying the Kenyan’s a losing bonus point, while failing to secure a bonus point of their own, left the door ajar for the seasoned Rugby World Cup campaigners.
Humphrey Kayange has his eyes set on staring down the Haka. Photo: rwc
Kenya star Humphrey Kayange says that qualifying for RWC 2015 in England and facing the All Blacks would be like a dream come true.
By avoiding defeat against Zimbabwe in the final round of Confederation Africaine de Rugby Africa Cup Division 1A matches in Antananarivo on Sunday Kenya would confirm their place at England 2015 – the nation’s first appearance on Rugby’s greatest stage.
The Africa Cup champions will join champions New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Georgia in Pool C and for Kayange, a star of the Sevens circuit, qualification would be a career highlight.
“Qualifying would mean an awful lot to Kenya, the team and our fans, who are amazing. It would be like a dream come true to play New Zealand in the Pool stages and face the Haka – it is something that we dream about,” Kayange said.
Nelson Mandela hands the Webb Ellis Cup to Francois Pienaar at RWC 1995. Photo: IRB
The race for Rugby World Cup qualification resumes in Africa this weekend, with Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia and Zimbabwe set to compete for the continent’s one direct qualifier spot at RWC 2015.
All four teams will play each other at the Mahamasina Stadium in Madagascar between June 28 and July 6, with the top placed team set to book their place in Pool C alongside New Zealand, Argentina, Georgia and Tonga. The runner-up will then have an opportunity to secure the 20th and final berth at next year’s tournament through the Repechage.
Rugby is experiencing unprecedented levels of popularity in Africa, but with the exception of the continent’s traditional powerhouse, South Africa, no African side has managed to break the glass ceiling of the group stages at a Rugby World Cup.
Collins Injera hope to inject some sevens rugby magic for the Kenya XV. Photo: IRB
As Kenya draft in Sevens World Series stars to spearhead their attack, injured Namibia captain Jacques Burger believes this year’s Africa Division 1A tournament is ‘too close to call’ with the race to compete at England 2015 starting in earnest on Saturday.
Rugby-mad Madagascar is all set to provide the setting for Africa’s eagerly-anticipated Rugby World Cup qualifying tournament in Antananarivo from 28 June – 6 July.
African title holders Kenya face Rugby World Cup veterans Namibia on the first match day, while Zimbabwe will play the hosts Madagascar, each bidding to go forward as Africa 1 and join world champions New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Georgia in Pool C.