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Westgate terror attack scared UK rugby team from ‘Safaricom Sevens’

COUNTIES
By By JOHN LAWRENCE | September 25th 2013
An England Royals player prepares to pass the ball during a rugby match. The team failed to turn for the quarter final clash against Kenya’s Morans during the recently concluded Safaricom Sevens tournament.  [PHOTO: AP/STANDARD]

By JOHN LAWRENCE

A state of confusion engulfed the otherwise successful 2013 Safaricom Sevens on Sunday when an England side taking part in the tournament failed to turn up for the quarter final match against Kenya’s Morans.

Speaking exclusively to The Standard, the Kenya Rugby Union Chairman Mwangu Muthee said the team made the decision after terrorists stormed Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, killing at least 60 people and injuring over 200 others.

Guaranteed safety

He said the team decided to skip the match despite the British High Commission in Kenya guaranteeing them their safety.  “The first person to call me on Sunday morning was Dr Christian Turner the British High Commissioner to Kenya,” he said.

Bob Reeves, President of the Rugby Football Union, who was in the country to see his boys was shocked to hear that the England Royals had pulled out even after he had given the tournament a clean bill of health.

“We discussed the matter with both Bob Reeves and Dr Christian but non of us could change the mind of the players. Apparently the boys had a debriefing on Saturday night and when the matter was put to a vote, the idea to pull out carried the day. As a union we respected that,” added Muthee

Muthee further explained that the English boys were under immense pressure from their family members in UK and it was wise to allow them to make the decision.

The KRU chief described rugby as ‘a game of the body mind and soul’ and a balance has to be achieved for players to give their best.

“We as the rugby family count ourselves very lucky that we had an incident-free tournament,” he said.

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