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