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Zimbabwe held by Morocco as Africa Gold Cup Kicks-off
By Eric Njiru | Sat 16 Jun, 2018 16:15

Zimbabwe Sables were held to a 23-23 draw by Morocco in the opening round of the 2018 Africa Gold Cup on Saturday June 16 in Harare.

The draw is a blow to Zimbabwe'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 five points.

Morocco scored three penalties and a converted try to lead 16-14 at the interval as Zimbabwe had converted two tries. 

Second half saw Zimbabwe retake the lead to 20-16 with  two penalties but the North Africans replied also with a converted try to take the game to 20-23.

Zimbabwe's chance to take something from the game finally came with the home side going for points to end the game at 23-23. 

Zimbabwe head for Kenya ahead of a clash with the East Africans on June 30 before another away clash against Tunisia on July 7. 

The Sables will take on Namibia at Hartsfield Rugby Stadium on August 18 in penultimate Rugby World Cup qualifier before taking on Uganda on August 18. 

For Morocco, they head back home to host Kenya on June 23 before hosting Namibia seven days later. They will travel to Uganda and Tunisia on August 11 and 18 respectively. 

The Rugby Africa Gold Cup rankings follow a points system (win, tie, loss and bonus points) with other criteria in case of two or three-way ties. The winner is, in any case, the team who scores the most at the end of the tournament. 

There is no final match to determine the champion, so the suspense builds regarding the final ranking of all the teams until the final second of the last match.

Round robin

For one to qualify for the 2019 World Cup as Africa 1, they will have to win the round-robin Africa Gold Cup where points will be tallied after the five matches. Africa 1 is placed in pool B that has World Champions New Zealand, South Africa Italy and repechage winner.

The team that finishes second will head to a global repechage tournament in November to try another luck. The four repechage teams will play a round-robin to decide which country will draw into Pool B in Japan with New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Africa 1. 

Rugby Africa Gold Cup Fixtures
16 June 2018 

Zimbabwe 23 Morocco 23
Namibia v Uganda -Cwengile Jadezweni(SARU)

23 June 2018
Namibia v Tunisia -Quinton Immelman(SARU)
Morocco v Kenya -Sebastien Minery(FFR)

30 June 2018
Kenya v Zimbabwe -Tual Trainini(FFR)
Morocco v Namibia -Adrien Descottes(FFR)

7 July 2018 
Kenya v Uganda -Quinton Immelman(SARU)
Tunisia v Zimbabwe -Jonathan Dufort(FFR)

4 August 2018 
Uganda v Tunisia -Cwengile Jadezweni(SARU)
Zimbabwe v Namibia -Egon Seconds(SARU)

11 August 2018 
Uganda v Morocco -Rasta Rasivhenge(SARU)
Kenya v Tunisia -Julian Castaignede(FFR)

18 August 2018 
Uganda v Zimbabwe -Egon Seconds(SARU)
Namibia v Kenya -Rasta Rasivhenge(SARU)
Tunisia v Morocco -Cedric Marchat(FFR)

Repechage teams
1.Canada 
2.Loser of (Germany/Portugal) vs Samoa 
3.Africa 2(Namibia/Kenya/Zimbabwe/Uganda) 
4.Asia 2(Likely to be Hong Kong or Tahiti)

Eric Njiru
Email: ericnjiru41@gmail.com +254726205521
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