NAIROBI, Kenya, March 17 – Ugandan franchises Rwenzori and Victoria will face off in the opening weekend of the Bamburi Rugby Super Series in changes announced on Tuesday.Series chairman Aggrey Chabeda said that the franchises had requested to play each other on the first weekend in order to promote the tournament in their own country.
“Because they are coming in for the first time and want to hype the event, they requested that there two franchises play the first weekend,” said Chabeda.
“We had thought perhaps they would be building up towards playing in the last weekend. But they know better their terrain and we acceded to that request,” he added.
At the same time, Chabeda is confident that the absence of national sevens players who will be on duty in the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens Series will not affect the quality of the tournament and will instead give fledgling players the opportunity to prove their worth to the national selectors.
“The absence of the sevens player ensures that we expand the player base. It just gives the opportunity to other players who in the past would not have had a chance to play,” said Chabeda.
Rwenzori and Victoria will play their home matches at the Kyadondo stadium and are in Pool B alongside Buffaloes and Cheetahs who will clash in Nakuru on Saturday.
Defending champions Lions will lock horns with Sharks at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) grounds while the Rhinos travel to Arusha to play the Twigas.
Chabeda was speaking when logistics provider SDV Transami unveiled their Sh3 million sponsorship package for the tournament.
SDV regional director Tony Stenning said that his company’s involvement in the series stems from rugby’s growing influence in the region which they wasn’t to be associated with.
“Rugby is growing at a rapid rate in the region and we want to be a part of that,” said Tennings.
“Convincing our head office to part with the money wasn’t easy because of the global credit crunch but we are delighted they did,” he added.
Meanwhile, defending Chairman Cup champions open their defence of their title against Kenyatta University Blak Blad.
Last year’s runners up Kenya commercial Bank (KCB) open their account against Chipu RFC which is made of the National U-20 side who will use the tournament to prep for the International Rugby Board (IRB) Junior World Rugby Trophy.
Impala will play Mwamba while Nondies will lock horns with University of Nairobi’s Mean Machine.