HARARE – Zimbabwe's Sevens rugby team arrived in Moscow this week ahead of the Rugby World Cup Sevens set to explode in the Russian capital at the weekend.
The Cheetahs, who won the Bowls section in Dubai in 2009, have been placed in Pool C with Kenya, Samoa and Philippines, are coached by former Zimbabwe international Gilbert Nyamutsamba.
Meanwhile, the 2013 tournament in Moscow will be the most competitive in the tournament’s history, according to IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
With 24 men’s teams and 16 women’s teams currently making their final preparations for this weekend’s action, Lapasset says Rugby Sevens players have never been so skilful, so fit or so good.
“I believe this tournament will be the most competitive yet,” he said.
“With the HSBC Sevens World Series now an established part of the global Rugby calendar and IRB Women’s Sevens World Series having been established this year I have observed that the quality of play in both men’s and women’s Sevens is continuing to rise.”
“We welcome new teams to the elite level of Sevens. In the men’s section, Philippines have made the step up and it is genuinely impossible to predict how the teams will fare against one another. Four years ago, rank outsiders Wales shocked the world to take the title in Dubai and I for one will not attempt to guess who will make the semi-finals, let alone who raises the Melrose Cup on Sunday evening.”
“In the women’s section, Tunisia, Ireland and Fiji will grace the tournament for the first time and there are at least half a dozen teams with realistic aspirations of winning. That level of competitiveness is so important for the success of a tournament like this and is a tribute to the hard work of players, coaching staff and Member Unions.”
Speaking ahead of the tournament, which takes place from June 28-30 in the iconic Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Lapasset says Russia is about to witness the excitement and buzz around a major Sevens tournament.
“Rugby is breaking new frontiers around the world. Russia has dreamed for many years about welcoming the world’s greatest Rugby Sevens players to this great stage. This weekend that dream comes true,” he added.
“This great city and its wonderful people will be the most exceptional hosts of an event that we all will be proud of and an event that will showcase our wonderful sport and its character-building values ahead of our Olympic Games return in 2016.”
Zim Squad: Jacques Leitao (c), Fortune Chipendu, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Daniel Hondo, Kilvan Magunje, Wes Mbanje, Mike Morris, Jafet Ndlovu, Tangai Nemadire, Gardner Nechironga, Lucky Sithole, Garth Zeigler.