Zimbabwe’s preparations for the Rugby World Cup qualifiers to be played in France in July have received a massive lift following the confirmation of a high-profile Test match against the Netherlands next month.
The national rugby side is currently participating in the Currie Cup First Division in South Africa, where they have been making some steady progress ahead of their World Cup qualifying campaign.
And in an effort to ensure the team is adequately prepared, the Zimbabwe Rugby Union have secured the international match against the Netherlands which is expected to give the technical team an opportunity to test their preparedness for the qualifiers.
🎶We're leaving on a Jet plane🎶
The boys will be heading off to the World Cup qualifiers, but there's a quick stop for a test against the Netherlands.
The road to #RWC2023 starts here.
If you're in the 🇳🇱, drop in and support the boys.
— Zimbabwe Sables 🇿🇼 (@SablesRugbyZW) May 23, 2022
Hollands’s rugby team, who are popularly known as “The Oranges” are ranked number 26 on the World Rugby rankings, seven places ahead of the number 34-ranked Sables.
The match will be played at the National Rugby Centre Amsterdam in the Dutch capital on June 25, exactly a week before they begin their Rugby Africa Cup 2022 campaign in France.
Zimbabwe will face Ivory Coast at the Stade Maurice-David in Aix-en-Provence, on July 2 in the quarterfinals of this year’s Rugby Africa Cup, which will also serve as the final round of the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifying for African countries.
The continental tournament will be held in France from July 1 to 10, 2022.
The competition will be hosted at Aix-en-Stade Provence’s Maurice-David and Marseille’s Stade Pierre-Delort, which hosted the RWC 2019 Final Qualification Tournament.
The Rugby Africa Cup pool stage was contested in July 2021 and determined the eight teams that will compete in the quarter-finals in France.
Namibia, who are bidding to reach a seventh successive Rugby World Cup, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe qualified for the quarter-finals as pool winners. They were joined in the last eight by pool runners-up Burkina Faso, Algeria, Kenya Simbas and Ivory Coast.
Burkina Faso, ranked 91st in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings will face Namibia on Friday 1 July 2022 in the first quarterfinal match set for Stade Pierre-Delort in Marseille.
Senegal will face Algeria in the second quarterfinal at the same venue on 1 July.
Kenya will take on Uganda on Saturday 2 July at Stade Maurice-David in Aix-en-Provence.
The Zimbabwe Sables, who are seeking to qualify for their first Rugby World Cup since 1991 will also face Ivory Coast on 2 July at the same venue.
The victor of the eight-team knockout competition will represent Africa in the RWC 2023 in France 14 months later.
New Zealand, hosts France, Italy, and Uruguay are all in Pool A for the Africa 1 qualifier.
Whoever finishes as runners-up following the much-anticipated Rugby Africa Cup 2022 final on 10 July will still have a chance of qualifying for RWC 2023 through the Final Qualification Tournament.
Rugby Africa Cup quarterfinal dates and venues
1 July 2022: Namibia vs Burkina Faso – Stade Pierre-Delort in Marseille, Senegal vs Algeria – Stade Pierre-Delort in Marseille
2 July 2022: Uganda vs Kenya – Stade Maurice-David in Aix-en-Provence, Zimbabwe Sables vs Ivory Coast- Stade Maurice-David in Aix-en-Provence.
Rugby Africa Cup Semis
6 July 2022: Namibia-Burkina Faso vs Senegal-Algeria -Stade Maurice-David in Aix-en-Provence.
Uganda -Kenya vs Zimbabwe -Ivory Coast -Stade Pierre-Delort in Marseille
Stade Maurice-David in Aix-en-Provence.
Stade Pierre-Delort in Marseille
Final – 10 July 2022: Winner 1 vs winner 2 -Stade Maurice-David in Aix-en-Provence.
Bronze: Loser 1 vs lose 2
Fifth play-off: TBC
Seventh playoff: TBC