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ZIMBABWE’S ambitions for a third Rugby World Cup appearance were left hanging in the balance when the Sables surrendered their lead to narrowly fall to Namibia in an Africa Cup encounter in Antananarivo, Madagascar, yesterday.

The Sables, who led for a long period, eventually slumped to a narrow 20-24 on a day that Kenya became g favourites after notching up their second win with a 24-0 destruction of hosts Madagascar.

The Africa Cup is also serving as the qualifier for a place at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

Zimbabwe will now a need a bonus point win against Kenya in their final qualifier on Sunday if they are to finish tops.

The top three teams in the Africa CupWorld Cup qualifier still have a chance to grab the top spot which ensures that they get an automatic qualification slot for the global showcase while the runners up will have to go through a play off.

Leaders Kenya, second-placed Sables, third-placed Namibia and bottom-placed Madagascar all still have a mathematical chance of making it through but it is the trio of the Sables, Shujaa and Welwitschias, who still have a chance of finishing as the top team.

In the play off, the second-placed team will go on to take on Russia in Siberia with the winner of that game going to the second round where they will take on the winner between Hong Kong and Uruguay.

But none of the teams would want to take this route which is clearly a much tougher way of booking a place at the World Cup so only results on what has been dubbed African rugby’s Super Sunday will determine who will make it.

Having won both their games with bonus points against Madagascar (34-0) and a surprising 29-22 win over Namibia, Kenya are leading the race with 10 points.

Brendan Dawson’s men are on six points following a bonus point win over Madagascar (57-22) on Sunday and a bonus point loss against Namibia yesterday where they lost by less than seven points.

However, Zimbabwe need a bonus point win if they are to secure a top place finish but they would have to restrict the Kenya from scrapping a bonus point in this game because if they do, it would come down to superior points difference.

Below are the Sables’ Qualification Permutations:

a) If Zimbabwe win with a bonus point and Kenya lose with a bonus point then any win for Namibia against Madagascar will not have an effect and points difference will determine the winner of the group between Zimbabwe and Kenya as they will both be tied on 11 points.

b) If Zimbabwe win without a bonus point and Kenya lose with a bonus point and a bonus point win for Namibia means that points difference will come into play between Zimbabwe and Namibia for a second place finish as Kenya would have topped the group.

c) If Zimbabwe win without a bonus point and Kenya lose with a bonus point an ordinary win for Namibia (without a bonus point) would then mean that Kenya win the tournament and Zimbabwe finish second.

d) If Zimbabwe win without a bonus point and Kenya lose without picking a bonus point then a bonus point win for Namibia would mean that all three teams are tied on 10 points and points difference will be used to separate them.

e) If Zimbabwe win without a bonus point and Kenya lose without picking a bonus point then an ordinary win for Namibia would mean that Zimbabwe and Kenya will finish as the top two teams and will have to be separated by points difference.

f) If Zimbabwe win with a bonus point and Kenya lose and fail to pick a bonus point then Namibia win with a bonus point, Zimbabwe and Namibia will have the same number of points at the top of the group and points difference will be used to determine the winner.

g) IF ZIMBABWE WIN WITH A BONUS POINT AND KENYA LOSE WITHOUT PICKING A BONUS POINT, AT THE SAME TIME NAMIBIA WINNING WITHOUT A BONUS POINT THEN ZIMBABWE WIN THE GROUP AND KENYA FINISH SECOND.

h) IF ZIMBABWE WIN WITH A BONUS POINT AND KENYA LOSE WITHOUT PICKING A BONUS POINT, AT THE SAME TIME NAMIBIA LOSE TO MADAGASCAR THEN ZIMBABWE WIN THE GROUP AND KENYA FINISH SECOND.

i) If Zimbabwe lose to Kenya with a bonus point and Madagascar beat Namibia by any result then Kenya finish as the top team and Zimbabwe will have to go through the play-offs.

j) If Zimbabwe lose to Kenya without a bonus point and Madagascar beat Namibia by with a bonus point then the second place finish between Zimbabwe and Madagascar will be decided on points difference.

k) If Zimbabwe and Kenya draw and Madagascar win by any margin then Kenya top the group followed by Zimbabwe.

l) If all games are drawn, then Kenya and Zimbabwe finish as first and second respectively.

m) Any other result would mean that Zimbabwe will not qualify for the World Cup or for the play offs.

If the sides still cannot be separated by competition points or points difference then the following criteria applies in this order:

the team with the best try difference – tries scored minus tries conceded

the team with the highest ‘points for’ total

the team with highest number of tries scored

Table Standings

P W D L F A Dif BPts Pts

Kenya 2 2 0 0 63 22 41 2 10

Zimbabwe 2 1 0 1 77 46 31 2 6

Namibia 2 1 0 1 46 49 -3 1 5

Madagascar 2 0 0 2 22 91 -69 1 1

Source : The Herald

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