Zimbabwe expect explosive World Cup qualifier with Kenya

Zimbabwe's new national rugby coach and former Springboks coach Peter de Villiers takes part in a training session on June 29, 2018 in Nairobi, ahead of a rugby match against Kenya during the 2018 Rugby African Gold Cup, which acts as qualifier for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Nairobi (AFP) – Zimbabwe is expecting a high octane encounter when they face Kenya in their crucial 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup in Nairobi on Saturday, a game which also serves as a 2019 World Cup qualifier.

The Sables, as Zimbabwe are known, have dominated the head-to-head battles between the two regional rivals and also have more to lose after opening their campaign with a 23-23 draw against Morocco at home two weeks ago.

“We are expecting Kenya to be highly aggressive. They attack the ball wide and are fast-paced,” said former Zimbabwe head coach Brendan Dawson.

“Kenya is a highly competitive side with big players. Their standard of rugby is a version of the Sevens, which brings a new dimension to the game,” added Dawson, who is deputising for the team’s new coach, former South African Springbok Peter de Villiers.

Zimbabwe beat Kenya 27-10 in Antananarivo in qualifying for the 2015 World Cup in England, but both sides failed to qualify for the tournament.

Victory however went to Namibia, who are also currently heading the six-nation African Gold Cup tournament, which also acts as a qualifier for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Other competing nations are Tunisia and Uganda.