Teams ready for battle at Safari Sevens

June 20, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, June 20 – The stage is set for the 13th Tusker Safari Sevens rugby tournament at the RFUEA grounds.

The tourney started with schools’ category on Friday but the main battle starts Saturday with the main cup competition.

Reigning World Cup champions Fiji are in town and despite carrying a largely experimental side, they are expected to give it a real go and start as firm favourites.

Drawn in pool C together with Japan, University de Grenoble and Bristol University select, the third seeds will look to Timoci Matanavou and Timoci Vakadranu to give them that competitive edge.

Japan who are making a return and were firm favourites with the fans will be looking to upset giants in the group which also has seasoned campaigners Bristol.

It’s been three years since Kenya last won the crown and Benjamin Ayimba is under pressure to deliver the crown.

The team enjoyed a successful season in the International Rugby Board circuit finishing seventh with 38 points and a win on Ngong Road would complete a hugely impressive season.

His charges will take to the field at 11am when they face Zambia in the opening game. They will then play Botswana before finishing off against the group’s toughest side-France.

Ayimba will however have to do without Innocent Simiyu who is out due to injury.

Moses Mwole is set make his debut while the tournament also sees the return to the side of skipper Humphrey Kayange, Victor Oduor, Victor Sudi and Collins Injera who all missed the last two IRB tourneys in London and Edinburgh. 

Kenya’s B side Shujaa will be the first home side on show when they take on Tunisia at 10am.

The reserve side did extremely well last year winning the plate and will rely on Allan Makaka, Nato Simiyu to guide them to glory.

They will have to contend with last year’s runners up Zimbabwe who last year beat the main side in the main cup semis.

Defending champions Emerging Boks will play against samurai Warriors in the day’s opening match at 9am. The defending champions will then play Tanzania before finishing off with a tricky tie against Uganda.

Day one fixtures:

 9.00 AM       Emerging Boks  VS  Samurai
 9.20 AM       Uganda  VS Tanzania
 9.40 AM       Zimbabwe  VS  Namibia
 10.00 AM     Tunisia   VS  Shujaa
 10.20 AM     Fiji  VS  Bristol
 10.40 AM     Japan  VS  Grenoble
 11.00 AM      Kenya  VS  Zambia
 11.20 AM      France  VS  Botswana

 11.40 AM      Schools’ final     
 12.00 PM      Emerging Boks  VS  Tanzania
 12.20 PM      Uganda   VS  Samurai
 12.40PM       Zimbabwe  VS  Shujaa
 1.00 PM        Tunisia  VS  Namibia
 1.20 PM        Fiji  VS  Grenoble
 1.40 PM        Japan  VS  Bristol
 2.00 PM        Kenya  VS  Botswana
 2.20 PM        France  VS  Zambia
 2,40 PM        Samurai  VS  Tanzania
 3.00 PM        Namibia  VS  Shujaa
 3.20 PM        Bristol  VS  Grenoble
 3.40 PM        Zambia  VS  Botswana
 4.00 PM        Emerging Boks  VS  Uganda
 4.20 PM        Zimbabwe  VS  Tunisia
 4.40 PM        Fiji  VS  Japan
 5.00 PM        Kenya  VS France


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