Top guns invited for the 2018 Safari 7s

Portugal, Namibia, Ireland, Wales, South Africa’s Emerging Boks, Spain and Uganda are some of the teams that have been invited for this year’s Safari 7s rugby tournament.

The competition will be making a return on the weekend of November 9-11 after it failed to take place last year.

Speaking on Wednesday during the launch of the event, Kenya Rugby Union CEO Sylvia Kamau expressed optimism that all the invited teams will take part in the competition.

A number of teams which have been invited will be using the tournament as preparations for the 2019 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series which kicks off in Dubai in December.

This will be the first time the competition will be returning to rugby’s spiritual home– the RRFUEA grounds after an eight-year lull; during which it shifted to the Kenya’s sports cathedral – the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

“We have sent invites to teams like Portugal, Namibia, Ireland, Wales, South Africa’s Emerging Boks, Spain, Uganda, Blue Bulls Samurai, University of Jo’burg and Western Province. Looking at the invite also is USA Sevens who are looking at giving us a team even if it’s their second side,” said Kamau.

On the same vein, Kamau asked well wishers and stakeholder’s to come on board and help the board raise the Ksh 30 million needed to stage the event.

“We are working with a minimum budget of Ksh30 million but as of now we don’t have a main sponsor; the organizing committee is working on that,” she added.

Kamau also appealed to stakeholders to have trust in the board and the preparations they are making to stage a successful event.

Frank Wanyama at safari 7s
Frank Wanyama at safari 7s

“RFUEA is a small venue but we feel the tournament should come back home. We will have structural improvement; more changing rooms and obviously use Impala and Junction Mall pitches as  parking for the visitors so people should not worry about the non issues,” added Kamau.

RFUEA chairman George Kariuki and KRU director of rugby Thomas Odundo were also present.

On his part, Kariuki echoed Kamau’s sentiments, calling on rugby fans to turn out in large numbers for the event and support local talent.

“I can assure you this is going to be a success not a hoax like last time. With time we shall bring back the lost glory of this tournament,” added Kariuki.

In 2017, the tournament was cancelled by the Union since the tournament due to the then prevailing political climate which made the staging the event a major challenge

Also, after the 2013 edition, the tourney ran into pitfalls with the numbers of attendees dwindling leaving KRU with no option but to take the competition to ‘where it belongs”–Ngong Road.

Kenya 7s are the defending champions after beating Samurai 38-21 at Kasarani Stadium in the 2016 final.