A 24-14 trouncing of Ireland Invitational was not enough for the Zimbabwe rugby sevens team to progress to the Cup quarterfinals at the Dubai 7s Invitational in the United Arab Emirates on Friday.
The Cheetahs needed a convincing win in their final Pool A match after a mixed opening day on Thursday, where they lost 7-5 to French side 7 Fantastics before a thumping 35-14 win against French Military Sevens.
Despite a seemingly comfortable win against a youthful Irish side, Zimbabwe, who are also fielding a very young team a third-place finish in their pool on points difference after finishing tied on seven points with the top two teams in their group, Ireland Invitational and 7 Fantastics.
The Graham Kaulback-coached side were thus unable to progress in the Cup competition and will now slug it out in the less fashionable Bowl section.
Pool winners Ireland Invitational beat France Militaire Sevens 42-0 and 7 Fantastics 19-7, but lost to Zimbabwe.
French team 7 Fantastics beat Zimbabwe and France Militaire Sevens 40-0, but lost 19-7 to Ireland Invitational.
The results mean that the Cheetahs will meet Western Sydney Two Blues in Saturday’s Bowls quarterfinals, while the duo of Ireland Invitational and 7 Fantastics meet Germany Developmental and Speranza 22, respectively, in the main competition’s quarterfinals.
Zimbabwe, who are competing in the Dubai Invitational which is being played concurrently with the opening leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series for the world’s leading sevens side.
The Cheetahs are using the competition to build a solid base for their squad ahead of an important 2023 season in which they will compete in the expanded World Rugby Challenger Series and the qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.