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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenya gears up for repechage tourney to Rugby World Cup 2019 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) — Kenya 15s team head coach Ian Snook said Wednesday that his team is in high spirit ahead of the repechage tournament of Rugby World Cup 2019.

Kenya will take on Canada and Germany in the repechage which starts in Marseille, France from Nov. 11-23.

“I am excited for the opportunities it would provide for the players. To perform on the big stage will expose them to clubs all over the world and believe me there are plenty who could be playing in Europe or Japan as quality professionals,” said Snook.

The winner of the round robin format play will secure the final ticket to the World Cup in Japan in 2019.

A repechage, of one form or other, has been used to determine qualifiers for a Rugby World Cup since the 1999 tournament hosted by Wales.

However, this is the first time that World Rugby is using a round-robin event in one location to select the winner to join the other 19 teams that have already been confirmed.

“The players have a lot to learn and this is what we want because when you play against big teams often, you gain,” said Snook.

Kenya has been pitching camp in Romania for a buildup contest against the host, where they lost 36-5 in Bucharest.

However, coach Snook has warned his opponents not to look down upon Kenya’s prospects in the repechage as they target to stage a surprise performance and seal their first ever ticket to the World Cup.

Kenya lost out to Namibia in Africa Gold Cup to miss the automatic ticket from continental qualification while Canada finished third behind USA and Argentina in their America’s tourney.

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Kenya captain warns ahead of rugby World Cup qualifier  

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s 15s rugby captain Davis Chenge has warned their opponents in the World Cup repechage to rule out the east African side on their own peril.

Chenge has promised to lead from the front when they take on Hong Kong of China, Germany and Canada in the qualification tourney for the final slot of 2019 World Cup in Japan.

The repechage World Cup qualifier will be played in Marseille, France from Nov. 11-23.

Kenya lost 36-5 to Romania in the buildup match on Saturday with the skipper saying it was a poor show owing to their bad preparations. However, he has promised to fire on all cylinders in Marseille next week.

“This was the type of games we wanted. We have gained a lot under our belt and I have seen the areas we need to improve and it was good for the entire team,” said Chenge.

Romania is one of the bigwigs in rugby 15s and will miss the finals in Japan next year over fielding ineligible players.

But Chenge believes they gave them a reality check, which will go a long way to waken their hunger for win in Marseille.

“Romania are strong and they are big on scrums and set piece rugby and it was good to learn from them,” added Chenge.

“We are now well ahead in our preparations and we have nothing to fear. We are relishing the challenge in the qualifier.”

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Kenya Rugby Focuses on World Cup Qualifier

NAIROBI (Xinhua) — The Kenya 15s rugby team remains upbeat despite losing 36-5 to Romania in Bucharest in their final build up match ahead of the World Cup qualifier starting in Marseille, France from Nov. 11-23.

Head coach Ian Snook however rues lack of international friendlies, which would have put his side in better position to wrest the single slot reserved from the repechage tourney in Marseille against three other continental losers in Germany, Hong Kong of China and Canada.

Already 19 teams have booked their tickets to the World Cup with Africa having Gold Cup champions Namibia and South Africa. The final team to make 20 will be confirmed after the repechage tournament.

“Kenya has its challenges especially in professionalizing the sport. A lot of time, players have to fend for their own transport and that is not right. But these pool of players are talented and hardworking and with that they are capable of winning in France,” Snook said before leaving for Romania.

Snook says the bigger task of qualifying for the first ever World Cup will inspire the players as they now turn their focus to Canada, Hong Kong of China and Germany.

Kenya will open their campaign in the repechage against Canada on Nov. 11 before taking on Hong Kong on Nov. 17 and then wrap it up with a meeting with European giants Germany on Nov. 23.

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