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SPORTS

KENYA FACE 7S RIVALS IN GAMES DATE: Paul Treu’s boys pooled with SA, T&T and Cook isles

RUGBY By -BS MULAVI | January 16th 2014

BY BS MULAVI

New Zealand’s Ambrose Curtis (right) gets past Kenya’s Collins Injera during their first round match at the IRB Sevens rugby tournament at Skilled Park at the Gold Coast on October 12, 2013. [PHOTO: AFP]

The Kenya National Sevens team will again renew their rivalry against African neighbours South Africa in the Commonwealth Games slotted for July 23 to August 3 in Glasgow, Scotland.

In a pool announced by the Commonwealth Games Federation and the International Rugby Board on Tuesday, Kenya are in Pool B, with South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago and the Cook Islands.

Sixteen teams will be battling in two-day (July 26-27) race for gold and Kenya will again face their toughest African rivals and fellow giants in what promises to be a cracker, and arguably one of the high lights of the Games.

Only South Africa are ranked higher than Kenya in Africa in the International Rugby Board Sevens circuit and the two teams have become fierce rivals, especially with the addition of former South African coach, Paul Treu, and his entire technical bench to the Kenya Sevens team management.

Sevens rugby was introduced in the Commonwealth Games in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and after every four years Kenya has been putting up a team that is stronger and stronger and expectations will be higher this year.

Even though the Commonwealth Games is predominantly for former British colonies, where competition is not as stiff, there are very strong rugby teams like champions New Zealand, Samoa, Wales and England, which Kenya must fight off in the race for the gold medal.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “For 16 years now, Rugby Sevens has enjoyed being a key part of the Commonwealth Games. To compete alongside their compatriots in a multisport environment is a matter of huge pride and honour for our rugby players, who are making giant strides in this new Olympic era. We wish our Rugby athletes all the best in this magnificent international event.”

Greg Warnecke, Head of Sport at Glasgow 2014 said: “Glasgow will welcome many of the world’s best Rugby Sevens nations to compete at the Games. The standard of competition will be world-class, the action is fast-paced and with all of the teams playing in each session of competition, it guarantees a feast of rugby action and a brilliant atmosphere all round.”

The Commonwealth games will be played after the International Rugby Board Sevens circuit has been completed in May in England.

The four pools confirmed by the International Rugby Board and Commonwealth Games Federation are:

Pool A

New Zealand, Canada, Scotland, Nigeria;

Pool B

South Africa, Kenya, Cook Islands, Trinidad and Tobago;

Pool C

Samoa, Wales, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia;

Pool D

England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Uganda.

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