Chipu engage top gear as rugby resumption nears
With the resumption of rugby in the country in two weeks time, the Kenya U-18 national team, popularly known as Chipu have stepped up their training back in Nakuru.
Chipu have been in camp for the past three weeks under the experienced technical bench led by KCB RFC head coach Curtis Olago and former Kenya international Peter Mutai who acts as the Team Manager.
In an Interview with Citizen Digital, Peter Mutai was buoyant with the progress the youngsters have made during their four week stay in Nakuru while trying to adhere to the Ministry of Health set guidelines to ensure safety.
“The team is in good shape and we are in a good recovery path after the long layoff from sporting activities. The management and players have been meeting regularly to practice, bonding sessions and gym sessions to remain in shape as we gear up to defend our title,” a bullish Mutai said.
Despite the long layoff from rugby action, Mutai maintains his team needs no introduction when it come to the Barthes Cup where they are the current defending champions.
“We have a good side in camp and our target remains to defend the Barthes Cup silverware and get to prepare for the World Junior Tournament in the near future,” Mutai added
The 2021 edition of Barthes Cup that will be held between June 24 and July 4 in Nairobi will be held at the RFUEA grounds with Kenya Rugby Union confirming the dates.
Initially, Barthes Cup was set to be held back in 2020 but postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic that led to the suspension of all sport related activities.
The Barthés Trophy is the only certified junior tournament in Africa with eight national U-20 teams battling it out for the silverware.
The participating teams in this year’s edition in order of the current ranking Kenya, Namibia, Senegal, Madagascar, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia.
Chipu hosted the Barthes Cup competition in 2019 and went on to win and qualify for World Junior tournament held in Brazil – secured sixth position. The Barthes Cup tournament is used as a qualifier to the Junior World Rugby.
In 2020, Rugby Africa announced the successful bid for Kenya Rugby to host the U-20 Barthés Trophy, for the next three consecutive years.
Host nation Kenya are the reigning Barthes Cup champions after defeating Namibia 21-18 in the final in Nairobi in April last year.
Mutai also took the opportunity to condole with the family of Benjamin Ayimba saying he lost a big brother who he will miss his advice and the memories made will forever be edged in his heart.
Peter Mutai has been regarded as one of the best halfbacks Kenya has ever produced with his speed of passes and relentless accuracy. A machine with flair who re-defined the standards of his position.
His kicking and passing was based on pure techniques. Mutai has since retired and switched gears to coaching and management, with successful spell with KCB RFC Thika RFC and Embu RFC respectively.
The Barthes Cup Pooling;