ZIMBABWE will host emerging rugby nation Burkina Faso for two back-to-back World Cup qualifiers on 16 and 20 July in a maiden meeting between the two countries in this sport.
The double-header between the Sables and West African minnows is a re-arranged fixture because Tunisia, which was originally scheduled to stage a three-team competition between 7 and 18 July, pulled out of hosting following a worrying upsurge of Covid-19 cases in the North African country.
Tunisia, Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso were grouped in Pool D of this year’s Africa Cup, which is also doubling as qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup in France.
With Tunisia withdrawing from hosting, the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) has been granted permission to replace the North Africans.
The Tunisian team, meanwhile, has not been authorised to travel by their government amid the new coronavirus scare, leaving Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso to face-off in a double-header.
With two teams from each of this year’s Africa Cup groups pencilled in to progress to next year’s last phase of World Cup qualifiers, both Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso will seal passage from Pool D if Tunisia fail to turn up in Harare.
The two matches in Harare will then only serve purpose of rankings and match practice.
It is understood, though, that the Tunisian rugby federation is making frantic efforts to persuade the government to approve the tour.— STAFF WRITER.
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