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Sables take on Kenya

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THE Zimbabwe national rugby side, Sables, will on Saturday plunge into an away battle with Kenya Simbas in a decisive 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup match in Nairobi.

The Sables started their chase for the Gold Cup with a rather disappointing 23-23 draw with Morocco in Harare and have been on rest preparing for Kenya who are fresh from a historic 28-24 win over Morocco in Casablanca in their opening Africa Gold Cup clash.

The tie was originally set for a 4pm kickoff but that has since changed as necessitated by host broadcaster Kwesea��s television scheduling.

Peter de Villiersa�� charges need nothing short of victory to keep their hopes of qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan alive. The draw against Morocco was a blow to Zimbabwea��s World Cup qualification as the competition is being played in a round robin format.

From the draw, both sides pick two points. A win at the Africa Gold Cup is fourA� points but a team can get an extra point for scoring four tries and more.

With Namibia maintaining a 100 percent record to top the six-team log with 10 points, followed by Kenya on five, the Sables must beat the East Africans for them to have any interest in the qualification process.

Namibia followed up their 55-6 triumph over Uganda in Windhoek with a 118-0 drubbing of Tunisia at home last Saturday.

Morocco occupy third place, while Zimbabwe are fourth, only better than Tunisia and Uganda.

From the team that played against Morocco, scrumhalves Hilton Mudariki and Peter du Toit are not available together with loose forward Njabulo Ndlovu, centre Ngoni Chibuwe as well as prop Gabriel Sipapate.

During their last visit, Sables, who left the country for Kenya on Wednesday, hit Kenya 26-21 at Nyayo Stadium on 23 July of 2011. The Sables scored their points through Gardner Nechironga (two tries), Lloyd Machanjaire (one) and Tich Makwanya (one conversion and three penalties) with the Simbas points coming from Lawrence Buyachi (one try), Vincent Ongera (one try) and Peter Claver Abuoga (one conversion and three penalties).

But they invade Nairobi reeling from two straight defeats to the Simbas in the last two years in Harare. In July of 2016 Kenya flattened Zimbabwe 61-15 in Harare and followed it up with a 41-22 win a year later in Bulawayo.

After their game against Kenya, the Sables will head for another away clash with Tunisia on 7 July. Bulawayoa��s home of rugby, Hartsfield, will be the venue for Zimbabwea��s biggest match of the campaign against Namibia on 4 August before taking on Uganda on 18 August.

After finishing the Gold Cup in fifth place last year, the new Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) leadership embarked on a sponsorship drive that saw more support come for the Sables for the Gold Cup, with mining company Zerttew Resources being their main backer.