NAIROBI, July 1 – The 20th Safari Sevens will be held on the weekend of October 3 and 4 in a yet to be confirmed venue, Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) announced on Wednesday.
The new date sees the annual international invitational tournament moved forward from last year’s edition held in September at Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani.
However, the Union is yet to secure sponsorship for the competition that attracts top rugby 7s playing nations including New Zealand and Argentina after integrated mobile services providers; Safaricom pulled the plug in April due to embezzlement of funds by some board members.
“We are taking to sponsors including Safaricom but we will communicate later. There is a sponsor who came on board but we couldn’t agree since they were offering us little,” KRU boss, Richard Omwela said after chairing a Special General Meeting.
Chances are high the tourney could revert to its traditional home at Nairobi’s RFUEA Grounds where it was last hosted in 2010 where national senior team Shujaa beat South Africa’s Emerging Springboks 17-12 to win the Main Cup title for the third time in a row.
Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium is the other venue that hosted the crowd pulling event in 2011 and 12 but Kenya was not lucky to lift the Main Cup at that stadium.
With the rugby sevens event shelved from the September’s Africa Games (formerly All Africa Games) in Congo Brazzaville, KRU also unveiled dates of the National Sevens Series scheduled to kick-off in Nairobi with the Christie 7s on August 1-2 at RFUEA Grounds.
This is the only adjustment made from last year’s programme where Mwamba RFC’s Kabeberi Sevens opened the series and Christie wrapped up the five-leg competition.
The second round will head to Kisumu’s Dala 7s on August 8-9 before resuming with the third leg Mombasa’s Driftwood 7s on the weekend of August 22-23.
Nakuru play host to the most popular leg, Prinsloo 7s colloquially referred to Nax Vegas on August 29-30 before curtains fall on the series at Nairobi’s Railway Grounds with the September 5-6 Kabeberi 7s.
KCB are the defending champions after lifting Kabeberi, Dala and Prinsloo titles besides being losing Main Cup finalists at Driftwood and reaching the Christie Bowl final.
Meanwhile, the inaugural KRU U-19 Sevens tournament will be played this weekend.
Round 1 : Christie Sevens, RFUEA,Nairobi 1-2 August
Round 2: Dala Sevens, Kisumu, 8-9 August
KRU U-19 Sevens, RFUEA, Nairobi, 15-16 August
Round 3: Driftwood Sevens, Mombasa Sports Club, Mombasa 22-23 August
Round 4: Prinsloo Sevens, Nakuru Athletic Club, Nakuru,29-30 August
Round 5: Kabeberi Sevens, Railway Club, Nairobi, 5-6 September