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Kenya ready to stage Sevens Rugby in IRB World Series

23 September 2014, 09:33

Nairobi - Kenya will target to surpass the threshold set by International Rugby Board (IRB) when it hosts the annual Safaricom Sevens tournament in Nairobi this weekend.

The annual tournament has grown in leaps and bound and will be used as dry run in Kenya's bid to stage one of the nine-round of the IRB World Series.

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) Chairman Mwangi Muthee said Monday the country is ready to stage the global event, should IRB consider their bid favorable.

Several countries have put in their bid to stage the crowd pulling tournament, a quicker version of the normal rugby 15s.

"We have been ready for some time now. We have the facilities and the fan base. The country has hosted several other top competitions in other disciplines and we can pull off this one," said Muthee.

"We have proved before in hosting the Safaricom Sevens, the Africa premier rugby tournament for the sevens that we are ready. It has always been a success story hosting of the National Sevens Circuit series and the Safaricom International Sevens."

Kenya will host the annual Safaricom Sevens rugby tournament this weekend knowing that observers from IRB will be scrutinizing it for any anomalies.

The country is among those seeking a bite from the IRB pie. The full list of Unions that have expressed an interest to tender for IRB Sevens World Series in the 2015/16 season is: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, England, Fiji, France, Germany, Hong Kong of China, Japan, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Wales.

The deadline for formal tender submissions for hosting a Sevens World Series tournament expired on June 27 and the World Series hosts will be selected by IRB in October.

"This unprecedented response truly reflects the enormous prestige and appeal of Rugby Sevens in the global sporting market place ahead of our Rio 2016 Olympic Games debut," IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said.

"The submission features a blend of interest from every continent and includes existing and emerging rugby markets. It reaffirms rugby Sevens as a young, exciting and thriving sport that is reaching out, engaging and inspiring new audiences around the world.

"International Rugby Sevens is truly competitive, showcasing great skill and speed to full, vibrant stadia and strong and ever-growing global broadcast audiences and that is why we believe that Rugby Sevens will be a great fit for the Olympic Games and also why the Olympic Games will be great for Rugby."

"We look forward to collaborating with each interested party as we look ahead to the next phase of the process," said Lapasset in a statement.

Muthee said Kenya has put in a strong bid to IRB and hoped in the near future their dream would come to pass.

"We have the capacity and technical know-how. Our National Sevens Circuit is one of the most competitive and well organized competitions in Africa and across the world, which has resulted in it attracting major sponsors," added Muthee.

The Safaricom Sevens has attracted teams from Australia, Fiji, England, Wales, Canada, New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa.

Some of the teams, which will be using the tournament as a build up ahead of the new IRB World Series season, are South African side Western Province, Sharks, Golden Lions and Boland Cavaliers.

Australia, Spain, Germany will also be bringing in their teams for the three-day tournament. Kenya will have two teams Shujaa and The Morans.

Also read: Kenya thrashed in African rugby champs

Kenya, a core team in the IRB World Series, will start their season campaign in Australia's Gold Coast next month against South Africa, Wales and American Samoa in Pool B.

Other groups have champions New Zealand, Samoa, France and Japan in Pool A, Fiji, Australia, Scotland and Portugal are in Pool C while Pool D has England, Canada, Argentina and the United States.

 - Xinhua

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