Kenya, Zimbabwe boost World Cup hopes

Kenya and Zimbabwe moved a step closer Wednesday to playing at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

Title-holders Zimbabwe defeated hosts Madagascar 35-18 and Kenya walloped Uganda 52-11 in Africa Cup Division 1A semi-finals.

The wins before a sell-out 40,000 crowd at the national stadium in Malagasy capital Antananarivo keeps both teams in Division 1A next year.

They will be joined by the winners of the third-place play-off between Madagascar and Uganda at the same venue this weekend.

The fourth contenders for an automatic World Cup place are Namibia, promoted from Division 1B last month after winning the tournament in Senegal.

Whichever country wins Division 1A next year joins defending champions New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and a European team in Pool C at the World Cup.

The 2014 Africa Cup runners-up will also have a chance of making the rugby union showcase via home-and-away play-offs against teams from other continents.