Samurai among 19 teams invited for 2019 Safari Sevens

By Clement Wekulo: Saturday, August 10th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Rugby
Bruce Kurt-Lee stops Francis Humwa (left) of Kenya Shujaa during Safari 7s at RFUEA Grounds. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Samurai Select, the 2018 Safari Sevens champions, are among 19 teams that have been invited for this year’s edition slated for October 18-20 at the RFUEA Ground in Nairobi.

World Sevens Series participants South Africa, France, England, Canada, USA and Spain are the other teams that have been asked to honour the three-day competition.

Others are Japan, Botswana, Portugal, Nigeria, Ghana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Uganda and Russia. United Kingdom teams Red Wailers and Apache, who graced last year’s showpiece, have also been lined up for this year’s competition.

As has been the norm, hosts Kenya will field two teams, Shujaa as well as a developmental side which is nicknamed Morans as they prepare for November’s Africa Sevens tournament that will double up as a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Safari Sevens, which is arguably Africa’s premier rugby Sevens tournament, has in recent years lost its spark with last year’s event failing to attract good numbers in the stands.

Kenya Rugby Union(KRU) Vice Chairman Thomas Opiyo is optimistic that the tournament, which is in its 23rd edition, will return to its former state.

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“The interesting thing about the invited teams is that they are not so keen on the prize money but are looking for a tournament that can give them good preparations for their upcoming assignments,” Opiyo said.

Opiyo, who was speaking at the KRU headquarters yesterday during the launch of the 2019 Safari Sevens, assured that they will review the ticket prices, which was seen as a reason for last year’s low attendance.

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