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Kenya have hope of making it to Rugby World Cup

21 February 2014, 12:42

Nairobi - Under Jerome Paarwater the Kenya national rugby team has had its hugest success ever in under just two years and they hope to push the level of their game in the forthcoming provincial Vodacom Cup in South Africa.

The team got a boost when their sponsors, East African Breweries Limited, announced on Tuesday, a Sh25 million annual grant to the Kenya Rugby Union.

A squad will travel to South Africa and be based in Cape Town from where they will be engaged in the Vodacom Cup competition between March 8 and May 17.

Paarwater, a South African national, became the Kenya Rugby Union’s Consultant for High Performance for the national XV and the Under-19 team just over two years ago and his impact -- in the conditioning of the teams and the results -- has been immense.

Previously strugglers against teams such as Uganda,  Kenya reclaimed the regional Elgon Cup from Uganda under Paarwater. Kenya then reclaimed the CAR [African Rugby Confederation] Africa Cup in Madagascar last June, easily brushing off competition from Uganda and hitherto chief rivals Zimbabwe.

Under Paarwater, Kenya hope to, again, win the Africa championship in Madagascar in June and gain passage to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England and Wales.

The KRU lauded Paarwater’s contribution when the chairman, Mwangi Muthee said: “The statistics are out there to show Jerome’s immense contribution to our team. And he is not just our coach, he’s more than that. As an invaluable donation from his Western Province Rugby Union, Jerome has been most instrumental in negotiations and lobbying for the Kenya team to play in the Vodacom Cup.

“He is also our most reliable contact in Western Province, South Africa and overseer of the logistics for the team’s high performance inside that country. He facilitated a high performance camp in Cape Town last year, prior to the Africa Cup and the results were clear when we won that Cup in Antananarivo.”

Muthee said the KRU was thankful to Theo Wakefield, the President of the Western Province Rugby Union who signed a partnership with Kenya to second Paarwater to Nairobi.

“Jerome has transformed a struggling team into a confident one, focused on the grand plan to qualify for the World Cup. We appreciate the sacrifice he has made, regularly travelling from South Africa to come to Kenya for periodical work with our squads,” Muthee said.

The EABL-sponsored Kenyan team, playing under the name of “Tusker Simba XV” will be playing in the Southern Group league of the Vodacom Cup comprising: Boland Cavaliers, Border Bulldogs, Eastern Province Kings, Free State XV, Sharks XV, SWD Eagles, Western Province, and [Kenya] “Tusker Simba XV”.

The Northern Group is: Blue Bulls, Falcons, Golden Lions, Griffons, Griquas, Leopards XV, Limpopo Blue Bulls, and Pumas.

The organisers have been kind to the Kenyans; putting them down for only two matches they will have travel outside Cape Town -- to East London v Border and to Bloemfontein to play the Free State.

 [Kenya] “Tusker Simba XV”  Vodacom Cup fixtures: 

8 March:  Tusker Simba XV  v EP Kings – Cape Town

15 March:  Tusker Simba XV v South Western Districts – Cape Town

22 March: Border vs  Tusker Simba XV – East London

29 March: Tusker Simba XV v Boland – Cape Town

5 April:  Western Province v Tusker Simba XV – Cape Town

12 April: Sharks v Tusker Simba XV  – Cape Town

26 April: Free State v Tusker Simba XV – Bloemfontein

There will be semi-finals for the two top placed teams in the groups and the Final will be on May 17.


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