HomeSportBuoyant Cheetahs shift focus to WC 2022 preps

Buoyant Cheetahs shift focus to WC 2022 preps

PAUL VUTETE
THE Cheetahs are not resting on their laurels after securing qualification for the Rugby World Cup Sevens as they have already set their sights on intensifying their preparations for the global tournament to be held in Cape Town, South Africa from September 9-11.

Zimbabwe’s Rugby Sevens side secured their place at the upcoming Rugby World Cup Sevens after winning a silver medal at the Africa Men’s Sevens played out in Uganda last Sunday.

With the Rugby World Cup Sevens ticket now secured, Cheetahs head coach Graham Kaulback said the next target is now to ensure that the team has the ideal preparations for the global tourney.

“I’m really happy that we have qualified for the World Cup. We worked really hard for it and now we will need to take it to another level in order to compete at the World Cup and not just participate,” Kaulback said in an interview with the IndependentSport.

The former Cheetahs playmaker, who missed the continental championship due to other commitments, said the team’s performance in Uganda shows that their rebuilding is on the right track.

In the build-up to the Uganda trip — the Cheetahs, who have been training as a group since last year — took part in a specialised training camp at the Stellenbosch Academy for Sports in South Africa before taking part in the inaugural Zambezi Sevens Challenge on home soil.

Kaulback is hopeful of having similar if not better preparations ahead of the World Cup.

“We have been on a development journey and are still on that journey. The warm up tournaments we played in really helped with our preparations and learning as a group. We are learning all the time and always looking to improve.

“We will do a debrief after the Africa Men’s Sevens and then come up with a path to the World Cup with comprehensive training and more tournaments to gain further experience and grow. We are happy with our progress, but we can always get better in every area.”

He added: “We are always a process-driven team, so hopefully, through good preparation, we can play good rugby, leave everything out on the field and hopefully the results will go our way. We are definitely not going just to participate. We want to compete and win.”

The Cheetahs will be making their sixth appearance at the Rugby World Cup Sevens after featuring in the 1997, 2001, 2009, 2013 and 2018 editions of the global showpiece.

“I know the Cheetahs have qualified for the last three consecutive World Cups with the most notable achievement being at the 2009 World Cup in Dubai where the Cheetahs won the bowl trophy beating Ireland in the final. We will have our work cut out for us. We will take an off season break now and then regroup at the beginning of June and take our Cheetahs Academy to the next level,” said Kaulback.

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