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Kenya to play SA giants W Province

TUSKER-SIMBAS-XVNAIROBI, Kenya, March 11 – National team Tusker Simba XV will take on South Africa titans Western Province on June 7 in a glamour friendly ahead of their Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Cup that will also serve as 2015 rugby World Cup qualifiers.

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman, Mwangi Muthee, the national team that is currently on tour for the Vodacom Cup will take on one of South Africa’s most popular sides and previous champions Province, who have won a record 33 Currie Cups, the Absa Nite Series and the Lions Cup in what will be a huge test to their development.

He was speaking Tuesday during the launch of this year’s Bamburi Rugby Super Series that will run on the weekend of April 26.

Tusker Simba XV opened their Vodacom campaign in dream fashion by holding on to floor Eastern Province Kings 17-10 in their opener last Saturday.

“Once we are through with Vodacom our ambition is to play in the senior CAR Cup and finally become a test playing nation since we have what it takes to beat big teams in Africa.

“Western Province has been very instrumental in development of 15s rugby in our country. They donated the head coach Jerome Paarwatar to us and were very instrumental to our negotiations with South African Union to have our team play in Vodacom Cup,” he underlined.

“Kenyans need to see their own team in action against a first class team and that’s why we have organized the test match since it will be a rehearsal for the World Cup qualifiers,” the KRU boss declared.

Kenya will be seeking to defend her continental title when they take on host Madagascar, Namibia and Zimbabwe in a round robin format and also qualify for the global showpiece for the first time ever.

England will host 2015 World Cup from September 18 to October 31.

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The 11th Super Series will see the franchises reduced to six, with Kenya producing four (Ndovu, Kifaru, Chui and Papa) while Uganda will be presented by two (Victoria and Ruwenzori)

Tournament director, Godwin Karuga, said they considered to work with fewer teams so that they can stage a professional competition.

“We want to have elite rugby this season and that’s why we have condensed the franchise. Every team that consists of a squad of 25 will have opportunity of selecting top 100 players from their regions.

“Our 15s national team is three games away to the World Cup and it’s our strong believe they will qualify. The format has changed because we want to run a competitive tournament.”

Commenting on this year’s tournament, Muthee said the competition will be rotating in all the Counties to make Kenya a rugby playing nation.

“The Super Series started with the intention of developing about 100 players across the country. The players are under the watchful eye of scouts so they should take this competition seriously.

“We want to spread rugby all over the country to develop at tap talent at the grassroots.”

Ndovu will incorporate Nakuru RFC, Eldoret, Kisumu and Western Bulls while Chui will consist of Nondescript, Lunch Bar Quins and Impala with Papa featuring KCB, Homeboyz and Mwamba.

Kifaru will see all the universities form a team.

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Defending champions Ndovu are in Pool A alongside Chui and Victoria while last year’s runners up Ruwenzori headline Pool B alongside Papa and Kifaru.

Victoria will open the tournament against Chui in Kampala before Ruwenzori welcomes Papa.

The May 3 fixtures will additionally see Papa play Kifaru while Ndovu host Victoria in Kakamega County. Nakuru will host May 17 fixture where Kifaru invites Ruwenzori before Ndovu takes on Chui.

The semifinals are slotted for May 24 in Machakos with the finals scheduled for June 7 at RFUEA Grounds.

Bamburi Cement Limited sponsored this year’s event to a tune of Sh20m (USD 231, 080.4).

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