Rugby Africa Cup 2022 semi-final line-up decided in south of France

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The Sables got their 2022 Rugby Africa Cup campaign off to a winning start against Ivory Coast on Friday night

Algeria, Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe remain in the hunt for a place at Rugby World Cup 2023 following the opening round of the Rugby Africa Cup 2022.

The quarter-finals of this year’s tournament, which is taking place in the south of France and doubles as RWC 2023 qualifying, kicked off on Friday when Namibia beat Burkina Faso 71-5 and Zimbabwe overcame Cote D’Ivoire 38-11.

On Saturday, meanwhile, Kenya secured their passage to the semi-finals with a 42-7 defeat of Uganda before Algeria won 35-12 against 14-player Senegal.

The teams will be back in action on Wednesday when Kenya take on Algeria and Namibia face Zimbabwe for a place in Sunday’s final.

Whoever emerges as Rugby Africa Cup 2022 champions next weekend will take their place in Pool A at RWC 2023 as Africa 1, alongside France, New Zealand, Italy and Uruguay. The runners-up will head into the Final Qualification Tournament.

NAMIBIA SET UP SABLES SEMI-FINAL

Captain Torsten van Jaarsveld was the hero for Namibia as he scored a hat-trick of tries in their quarter-final win against Burkina Faso on Friday.

The opening match pitted the highest competing team on the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini against the lowest.

And 24th-ranked Namibia, bidding to reach a seventh successive Rugby World Cup, rarely looked in danger of losing to number 91, Burkina Faso.

Namibia will now play Zimbabwe in Aix-en-Provence on Wednesday, after the Sables continued their impressive recent form with victory against Cote D’Ivoire.

Zimbabwe, who jumped seven places to 27th in last week’s Rankings, ran in five tries to maintain their hopes of qualifying for a first Rugby World Cup since 1991.

Matthew McNab scored the first try of the match before Shayne Makombe crossed twice, either side of half time. Aiden Burnett, with his first touch, and Matthew Mandioma then put the seal on victory.

“EXCEPTIONAL” ALGERIA TO PLAY KENYA

In the third quarter-final, Kenya scored four tries in the first half to open up a decisive 28-0 at half-time against Uganda.

The Simbas breached the Ugandan defence twice more after the break to complete a comfortable victory. John Okoth finished the match with two tries, while Bethwel Anami, Teddy Akala, Thomas Okeyo and Samwel Asati each scored.

Next up for Kenya on Wednesday is Algeria, who scored four tries to overcome a spirited Senegal side that had been reduced to 14 players when Khadim Cisse was shown a red card in the 30th minute.

Ranked 90th ahead of kick-off, 45 places below their opponents, Algeria led 13-12 at half-time and their numerical advantage told in the second half as they completed a famous victory.

“Finding ourselves in the African top four is something quite exceptional for a young federation like us,” Algeria coach Ousmane Mané said afterwards.

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