Ronald Mashinga, Sports Reporter
THE national sevens rugby team — the Cheetahs – is set for the inaugural World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series which gets underway in Vina del Mar, Chile today.
The Cheetahs have been drawn in Pool D where they will face Brazil, Mexico and host nation Chile in the tourney designed to develop the next generation of players.
The 12-man squad left for their temporary base in South Africa on Monday, where they trained under Old Hararians legend Rocky Gurumani.
Cheetahs team manager Donald Mangenje said the team is prepared for the tournament and ready for the challenge.
“We are grateful for the increased game time and have also used this opportunity to put in younger players into the structures. We are sure that this will bear fruit in the medium to long term,” said Mangenje.
The first of two legs of the Challenger Series will be played in Chile today and tomorrow, while the final leg is scheduled for Montevideo, Uruguay, from February 22 to 23.
The top eight ranked teams after the two legs will be guaranteed a spot at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series qualifier in Hong Kong in April this year.
Pool A contains Japan, Tonga, Portugal and second leg host nation Uruguay. Pool B has Hong Kong, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea and Colombia while Germany, Uganda Italy and Uruguay form Pool C.
The competition allows rugby unions outside of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series to compete on a more regular basis.
Zimbabwe is among 13 nations that earned their place in the Challenger Series by finishing as one of the top-ranked nations in their regional competitions held in 2019, finishing third in the Africa Men’s Sevens competition.