NAIROBI, Kenya, September 17- Belgium became the first invited foreign team to arrive for the 18th edition of the Safaricom Sevens as the countdown to the pristine invitational showpiece continues to toll.
With organisers declaring a change in format in the expanded event that will feature 20 teams following the incorporation of the clubs category into the main tournament.
Belgium’s squad includes Tom Coupe, Jaco Mclachcan, Victor Wartique, Vincent Hart, Hendrik Brouwers, Marc Tchangue, Guillaume Mundele, Robin Vassart, Mehdi Hrim,Thomas de Meeus, Bram Coupe, Charles Reynaert, Christopher Trapman, Nicolas le Roux and Lucas Giacomino.
The Belgians recently won the European Division A championships, earning the right to play in the European Grand Prix Series during the 2013/2014 season.
This year’s event that will be held for the first time at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, will feature the top sides that excelled at the recently concluded Safaricom Sevens Series led by champions KCB as well as the Kenya Sevens Academy side that will feature for the first time ever in competition in the chase for the Robin Cahill Trophy.
“We are using this tournament to gauge ourselves and chart the course for the future. Many of these boys were in the Kenya U-19 fifteens team that finished second at the recent CAR U-19 Division 1A championships in South Africa and they should gel well. We will be out to gather as much experience and exposure as possible,” Kenya Sevens Academy coach, Paul Murunga said in a statement dispatched from Kenya Rugby Union.
The squad, which exclusively consists of players aged 19 and under is preparing for the 2014 Youth Olympics in China and Head Coach Paul Murunga looks forward to a good showing.
Herman Humwa, Tony Khadambi, Nelson Mandela, Mike Wanjala, Martin Wanjila, Bryan Wandera, Brad Nahashon, Max Kangeri, Felix Ojow, Jeremy Mwambu, Victor Shigholi, Innocent Mukenya, Allan Odiyo, Kevin Masai and Peter Karia complete the national development side’s squad.
Other teams expected in the country on Tuesday following the arrival of the Belgians include the Australian Renegades with Samurai from Fiji, England Royals, Grenoble (France), Zambia, Western Province (South Africa), Uganda and Rwanda expected on Wednesday and Thursday.
The tournament draw and order of play will be released on Wednesday evening.
SAFARI SEVENS LINE-UP
England Royals, Australia Renegades, Belgium, Zambia, Uganda, Grenoble, Samurai, Western Province, Rwanda,Botswana, Shujaa, Morans, Kenya Sevens Academy, KCB, Quins, Impala, Mwamba, Homeboyz, Nakuru, Western Bulls