ZIMBABWE’S rugby team will face Russia, Chile and Barbados in the pool stages of the ‘Core-Team’ Qualifier at Hong Kong Sevens from March 28-30.
The Cheetahs’ opponents for the HSBC World Sevens Series qualifying tournament were confirmed by the IRB on Tuesday.
Tournament hosts Hong Kong were drawn in Pool F and face matches against the second European side, Italy, African qualifier Tunisia and the second of the Oceania qualifiers, American Samoa.
The other Asian heavyweight in the draw, Japan, starts as top seeds in Pool G and faces matches against Cook Islands, Uruguay and the top Caribbean nation, Trinidad & Tobago.
The winner of the qualifying tournament in Hong Kong will take the place of the bottom-ranked of the 15 current core teams after round nine of the World Series, the Marriott London Sevens on May 10-11.
Zimbabwe will be buoyed by the fact that they won the same tournament last year in Hong Kong, before failing at the final hurdle in London.
Furthermore, the Zimbabwe team will get an important insight into the Russian team when they compete in the Zimbabwe Invitational 7s to be held at Harare Sports Club from March 14-15.
The Rugby Union of Russia will be sending two teams to the Zimbabwean tournament where they will meet the Cheetahs, Zimbabwe Goshawks, South Africa, Kenya, Georgia and Hong Kong.
Draw at a glance
Pool E: Russia, Zimbabwe, Chile, Barbados
Pool F: Hong Kong, Italy, Tunisia, American Samoa Pool
G: Japan, Cook Islands, Uruguay, Trinidad & Tobago.