Sunday, Dec 21st 2014

Kenya 15s land invite for Vodacom Cup in SA

Friday, November 15, 2013 - 00:00 -- BY WILLIAM NJUGUNA

Kenya will be based in Cape Town and will play in the Southern section. They have been pitted against Boland Cavaliers, Border Bulldogs, Eastern Province Kings, Free State XV, SWD Eagles and Western Province.

The matches will be played either February or March with the qualifiers for the World Cup slated for April in Madagascar. Head coach Jerome Paarwater termed the fixtures key to Kenya’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup.

The fixtures are going to be key for our qualification to the World Cup in terms of preparation. The reason why Namibia had an edge over everyone else on the continent is due to the fact they play in this competition,” he added. Paarwater said the costs Kenya Rugby Union will incur will be minimal as the team will travel by road for the fixtures.

“ I think the initial concern for the union was that it was going to cost a lot of money but the fact that the team will be based in Cape Town makes it much cheaper as the matches will be not too far from our base,” he added.

Paarwater expressed confidence that the Kenya team can qualify for the 2015 World Cup as long as they prepare well and stay focused.

“I think in Kenya, we have concentrated a lot on the Sevens team at the expense of the 15s. The union needs to put more emphasis on the 15s team because we are only three games away from qualification to the Rugby World Cup in England,” he added.

Paarwater said he may consider calling up France-based Kenya winger Willy Amabaka for the qualifiers next year. “Ambaka is special talent and the fact that he is playing in France will be an added boost for his a career. He will boost us in qualification next year,” he noted. Ambaka plays for Lour RFC in France.

The format for the World Cup qualifiers has been changed and gives all the participating a equal chance of qualification.

The four teams—Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Madagascar—will play in a round robin format instead of the traditional semi-final, final and playoff.

It is envisaged that the new format will ensure competitiveness and each team will play at least three matches against top tier countries. Since introduction, four teams have faced off at the semi-final and final.