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Kenya Rugby

Updated on December 10, 2012

Kenya Rugby Tastes Success in 7's

Further success for Kenya rugby
Further success for Kenya rugby | Source

Kenya Rugby: An Overview

Kenya rugby has indeed come a long way and now enjoys cult status among many fans of the game. Kenya rugby has been here with for a long time with history showing that the game began as early as before independence with the settlers but the game came to prominence in the 1970’s with indigenous players joining the ranks. There has been no turning back from then and credit goes to the former Kenya rugby players who have helped build the kind of acceptance and level of competition in the game today.

Even though no comprehensive structures exist for the game to be turned professional or for identification of talent coupled with education and development for rugby players, small and sure steps are being taken each passing day. Albeit these glaring fundamental problems exist, Kenya rugby continues to be played with vibrancy and a great passion.

Kenya Rugby Has an Amateur Setup

Kenya rugby has for a long time been played in the capital where it remains deeply rooted. The game is played at an amateur level since players hold jobs while others are still studying only finding time for the game early in the morning or in the evening. It is still an indication of the passion and sacrifice shown for the game. Kenya rugby has been in a position to grow both versions of the game, the 15’s and 7’s at an amateur level.

The Kenya Rugby Football Union (KRFU) manages the game and has the mandate to develop the game right from the grassroots where it runs the schools rugby program all through to the national teams. The Kenya Cup is the panache of the Kenya rugby game in the country and is mainly centered in Nairobi. Good news is that if the current trend stamped by more teams joining the league from outside of Nairobi, the game is finally taking root all over the country. Teams from the Central Rift, Nyanza and Western provinces are coming up strongly and enjoying a talent pool from schools and institutions found there.

Kenya Rugby Sevens

Kayange carries the ball
Kayange carries the ball | Source

Kenya Rugby Football Union Oversees The Game

The Kenya Rugby Football Union has been actively seeking to revamp Kenya rugby through leagues and tournaments most notable among them the Kenya Cup, the Bamburi Rugby Super Series, the Safaricom Sevens and a host of tournaments in the 7’s version played all over the country. With an eye to developing the game, the Kenya rugby union has been overseeing the schools rugby program and there are tournaments to nature the young prodigious talent. In the absence of structures to develop the game, the schools program is the purveyor of talent to the clubs and national teams.

The Sevens rugby version has been the more acclaimed in Kenya rugby and this can be attributed to a number of factors. The reasons are that; the hugely technical areas are absent in the game of sevens, the 7’s game has been popularized by successes of the national team in international tournaments like the Safaricom sevens, IRB sevens series, the Commonwealth games and the Sevens world cup. Lastly, Kenyan rugby players are naturally gifted athletes and have natural flair for the shorter version of the game.

Kenya Rugby on the IRB Circuit

Injera; the try machine
Injera; the try machine | Source

Kenya Rugby Sevens

In fact, Kenya rugby receives a very huge boost from the sevens game which is pinnacle of the game in the country. The Kenya Rugby Sevens team has brought and continues to bring enormous satisfaction and joy to the country with every remarkable performance in the IRB Sevens circuit. The team has indeed cemented core team status within the IRB sevens series with their consistent results.

In the words of the current sevens coach Mike Friday, the Kenya rugby team has a good fighting spirit and the players have hearts of lions which is the foundation for the good results. The team inspires and electrifies fans in each of the tournaments around the world and testimony to this has been the large number of fans the team draws at every outing.

Kenya Sevens Rugby; Passion and Hunger for the Game

The passion
The passion | Source

Kenya Rugby 15's

The longer version of the game lags behind and this is mainly due to poor educational and development structures in the game. The 15’s game is technical and this has seen the team struggle internationally. The best the Kenya rugby 15’s team has done is representation in the CAF qualifiers where the team has never qualified for the world cup. All is not gloomy for the game which has been on the improvement ladder in the recent past. With programs like the recently initiated development and exchange program with the Western Province franchise from South Africa, the game will surely be improving from tapped technical expertise and player development the program promises.

Kenya Rugby; Safaricom Sevens

Diving try at the Safaricom Sevens
Diving try at the Safaricom Sevens | Source

Development of Kenya Rugby

Looking at the way forward for Kenya rugby, one would first commend all former players who have played the game and who have shown a passion and hunger to see the game take root. They became the stepping stones to what the game has become today and the continued development of both versions of the game. The past and current teams at the helm of the Kenya Rugby Football Union have been progressive forces in the game today.

Trying to transform the game from amateur status to professional status is indeed a laudable step and this has started with the Kenya sevens rugby team. Lack of funds may hinder the quest for Kenya rugby to go professional sooner than later but it is very important that structures are put into place to make it a reality. A successful professional league would do wonders towards crafting and feeding successful national rugby teams both in 7’s and 15’s versions of the game. This among a litany of changes and improvements to the structure of Kenya rugby can only mean one thing that the game would be scaling to greater heights towards joining the elite rugby teams in the world.

The Best of Kenya Sevens Rugby

The Successful Kenya Rugby Sevens Team

For now let all who love Kenya rugby continue to savor the exploits of the Kenya sevens team who catch the imagination of the whole world. The team has started the season on a high note and much more is expected from them in the IRB sevens circuit. Surely, greater success will come their way. God bless Kenya rugby!

Kenya Rugby Poll

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