The 2009 World Rugby Sevens World Cup kicks off today in Dubai with Zimbabwe taking on Wales this evening. Zimbabwe side is upbeat with their chances progressing all the way to the finals.
A total of 24 men’s and 16 women’s squads will compete for the ultimate prize in Dubai, having emerged from the numerous qualifying battles, involving 87 men’s and 83 women’s teams around the globe over the past year.
Zimbabwe have been drawn in a tough pool with USA, Sevens winners Argentina, Wales and Uruguay, but coach Liam Middleton says his tried and tested players aren’t in Dubai simply to take part. “That win really puts them (Argentina) up in the top (…) We play Argentina quite often though, and we draw Wales quite regularly. We played them in Dubai and George last year and had some good battles there.”
“So it’s a tough pool, but all the pools are tough. I think the fact that we have played Argentina and Wales regularly gives us a bit of confidence and to be honest we are quite ambitious so we’re not going to just make up the numbers, we’re really going to have a good crack at it and see how far we can get (…) A lot of teams have brought in two or three key players from international 15s but we have brought our regular squad.”
The Zimbabwe Cheetahs will play the opening match of the World Cup against Wales on March 5.
Meanwhile, South Africa who are favorites are chasing a unique double at the World Cup. The fifteens won the World Cup two years ago in France and Paul Treu’s team is amongst the tournament favourites for the Sevens world crown, a feat, if achieved, would be unique and unmatched in world rugby history.