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Kenya 15s rugby team seeks funds for Repechage tour

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya 15s rugby team requires US dollars 500,000 for their two-week tour of Europe to compete in the Repechage tournament in Marseille, France in November.

Kenya lost out to Namibia in the continental qualification and must use the Repechage route to earn a ticket to the finals in Japan in 2019.

The Repechage, starts from Nov 11-23, will see Kenya duel against Hong Kong, China, Canada and Germany in a round robin tournament with the overall winner securing qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) Chief Executive Officer Sylvia Kamau said they are seeking the money to help the team pitch camp in Romania and France.

“The money will cater for the coaches’ salaries, players’ allowances and accommodate during the Namibia and Romania build-up matches,” said Kamau on Thursday in Nairobi.

The team has lined up four friendly matches. Kenya will play against British Army on Oct 17, Namibia on Oct 21 and Romania and a semi-professional side from South Africa’s Blue Bulls Oct 28.

Head coach Ian Snook believes the four matches will help the team overcome their fears and secure their first ticket to the World Cup.

“Kenya will then play against Romania on Nov 3 in Bucharest before heading to France for the Repechage tourney in Marseille. This matches are critical to gauge the team and put them in competition mood,” said Snook.

Kenya’s assistant coach Dominique Habimana was happy with the four build-up matches planned for next month.

“It’s important we play build up matches to gauge our preparedness and the level of physicality and intensity ahead of the qualifiers,” he said.

Habimana said the squad has been undergoing intense strength and conditioning and will embark on tactical drill this week.

“The boys are in good shape and we will now focus on the technical aspects of where we need to improve as a team and look at our weaknesses in the last two matches,” added Habimana.

Hong Kong, China confirmed their place in the Repechage by beating Cook Islands 77-3. They join Canada, who were confirmed in the Repechage in Feb following their defeat to Uruguay in the Americas. Germany made the final team after they lost out to Samoa in the play-off for Europe.

The winner in Marseille will secure a slot into Pool B at rugby World Cup alongside defending champions New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia.


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