Having already hosted the first 15s international when Kenya hosted Zimbabwe in the Victoria Cup, the second largest sporting cathedral will host the 16th edition of the country’s premier 7s tournament from November 4 to 6.
“It will be a big occasion and because rugby following has grown, our home in Ngong Road can no longer host the crowd we are expecting and that is why we have taken the event to Nyayo Stadium
“We do not want rugby to be seen as an elitist sport where we charge so much to control the numbers. We want kids in uniform free entry and Kenyans of all walks of life to come and cheer their national team. We are shedding the notion rugby is elitist and taking it to the people,” KRU chair, Mwangi Muthee said Wednesday.
The switch of venue from the traditional spiritual home of the sport, Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) Grounds along Nairobi’s Ngong Road elicited mixed reactions from fans on social network sites.
KRU’s decision on the day when telecommunications service providers, Safaricom presented its title sponsorship package for the 16-team international event started trending on Twitter with divided opinions once the announcement was made.
“RFUEA Grounds are too small so the move to Nyayo for #7s (Safari 7s) make sense,”
Naomi Thoiya expressed.
“There is more to 7s than just the game…Nyayo is for single women looking for husbands #RFUEA,” Roger African added with Georgina weighing in with, “Ok since when did a stadium have bigger space than an open field? Parking, tents and everything at Nyayo, REALLY?”
This year’s edition will also see the hosts field the national team with the ‘B’ team Shujaa placed on standby.
“All the 16 slots have been filled with international teams such as Manu Samoa, Spain’s national team, Samurai, Le Bleu and teams for South Africa coming. Shujaa will fill in case of any withdraw,” Muthee stated.
Defending champions Kenya, Bristol from UK, who have been at every tournament since 1996, star teams Samoa and Spain, Zimbabwe, New Zealand’s provincial side Auckland, Belmont Shore from the USA and the Emerging Boks are among the teams expected in the tournament that attracted 20,000 last year.
“The profile of this event has grown globally and therefore the need to ensure top class hospitality. This includes among other things, broadcast area, medical facilities and changing rooms. We aim at putting the event at par with similar international events. Security issues also informed the decision the change venues,” Safaricom Director Maurice Newa said.
Safaricom will be sponsoring the event to the tune of Sh30.2 million. Out of this amount, Sh24.2 million will be for title sponsorship, Sh3 million for Media Centre while another Sh3 million will go towards the Safaricom Village.
1. Kenya, 2.Bristol, 3. Les Bleu, 4. Zimbabwe, 5. Zambia, 6. False Bay RFC, 7.Namibia, 8. Samurai, 9.Tanzania, 10. Uganda, 11. Grenoble, 12. Spain, 13. Samoa, 14. Emerging Boks, 15. Belmont Shore, 16. Auckland: Standby team: Shujaa, Rwanda, Goshawks.
A two tier pricing system will be used.
· Seasons tickets will be Kshs. 4,000/=
· Friday is Kshs.1,000/=
· Saturday and Sunday 2,000/= per day
· Season ticket -Kshs.1,000
· Friday is Kshs. 300/=
· Saturday and Sunday Kshs.500 per day.