Rugby: Kenya Chipu upbeat ahead of Barthes Trophy kick off on Saturday

Kenya players celebrates their victory over Tunisia during their Under 20 Africa Rugby Barthes Cup match at KCB Sports Club in Ruaraka on April 04, 2019. Kenya won 73-0. [Stafford Ondego/Standard]

Kenya Chipu are confident of defending their title when this year’s Rugby Africa Under-20 Barthes Trophy kicks off on Saturday at Nyayo Stadium.

Chipu Conditioning coach Motto Williams said they are ready to defend the title despite having to work with limited time.

“We are ready. No matter what. To represent over 50million Kenyans comes with some huge responsibilities especially with the players being teenagers. However, we have given them good guidance and we expect them not to succumb to pressure.”

“We agree this year’s tourney is different with last year’s event which had few participants. It is going to be a tough one but we are going to give our best and try and win the title,” said Williams.

There will be four quarterfinal fixtures on Saturday with the semifinals set for Wednesday, April 13 at the same venue. The finals will be played on Sunday next week.

Former champions Namibia will get the tournament underway when they face Cote d’Ivoire in the opening fixture, paving the way for the second clash between Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

  Madagascar, losing finalists in 2021 will take on Zambia in the day’s third fixture before hosts and defending champions Kenya take on next-door neighbours Uganda in the final quarterfinal fixture.

Kenya have won the last two editions held in Nairobi. Chipu stunned heavyweights Namibia 21-18 in the 2019 final at KCB Sports Club. The 2020 edition did not take place due to Covid-19.

Chipu retained the title last year by defeating Madagascar narrowly 21-20 in the final at Nyayo.

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