Rugby Africa is gearing up for a potentially exciting year across the continent after it released a detailed calendar of upcoming competitions after last year’s misses due to the pandemic.
Rugby Africa is planning to stage five annual competitions across the continent which will include the Rugby Africa Cup, the U20 Barthés Trophy, the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup, Africa Women’s Sevens and Africa Men’s Sevens.
One of the five annual competitions across the continent, the U20 Barthés Trophy will be the first highlight of the Rugby Africa competition and it will be held in Nairobi from 25 March - 4 April 2021.
Hosted by the Kenya Rugby Union, all eyes will be on the top four ranked teams namely; Kenya, Namibia, Senegal, and Madagascar.
“With the first round of competitions potentially kicking off in March, teams are already preparing, and by all accounts, both unions and players are thrilled at the opportunity to participate in the game,” Rugby Africa’s Vice President Andrew Owor said.
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The Barthes Trophy is the only national-level junior rugby tournament in Africa, with eight national U20 teams competing for the title.
The 2021 tournament will feature Kenya, Namibia, Senegal, Madagascar, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Cote d'Ivoire, and Zambia.
The winner qualifies for the Junior World Trophy tournament organized by World Rugby, set for September.
Fall back dates for this Round-robin single tournament are set to June. In 2019, Kenya hosted and won Pool A.
“With the season cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, we look forward to our players returning to the field and advancing the sport and their athletic prowess.”
“We understand that the ongoing pandemic may result in tournaments being postponed or cancelled at short notice, therefore dates are tentative, and we have also allocated ‘fall back’ dates to mitigate any disruptions or delays,” Rugby Africa said.
In May, attention turns to West Africa for the Rugby Africa Cup repechage, a qualifier for the 12th slot in the Rugby Africa Cup Pools 2021.
The Rugby Africa Cup Pools kicks off in July, with four pools of three teams each playing a Round-Robin tournament at a single venue per pool.
The best two teams from each pool qualify for RAC 2022, which serves as the final round of Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifier for Africa.
The Women’s 15s runs at the same time, with each host union hosting a Women’s 15s test match between host union and a visiting or neighboring country.
The Africa Men & Women 7s World Cup pre-qualifiers will run through August and September in 4 regional tournaments, with men and women’s tournaments hosted in the same venue, on the same dates.
For matter safety, Rugby Africa President Khaled Babbou said the underpinning principle is to give all Rugby Africa member unions a chance to participate in the qualification process of the Rugby World Cup and 7s World Cup
, “In collaboration with its member unions, Rugby Africa hopes to deliver a successful and safe 2021 competition season.”
“To ensure the safety and wellbeing of our athletes, officials, and volunteers, we will work closely with our Medical Advisory Committee, our Unions, and local authorities to monitor the situation and take appropriate steps.”