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International Rugby support Kenya boycott over better Payment

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- International Rugby Players Association will petition World Rugby Organization to reprimand Kenya and push it to improve Sevens team players’ welfare ahead of the World Cup, which starts in San Francisco, USA from July 20-22.

International Rugby Players Welfare Manager Isaac Boss said it will be hard for the Kenya team to focus on the World Cup yet they have family demands and pending bills.

"International Rugby Players will be officially contacting the Kenyan Rugby Union to address these concerns and will also raise the issue with World Rugby in due course," said Boss in a statement.

This will be a major boost for Kenyan players who are digging deep to have their welfare sorted and allowances paid.

Kenya are currently embroiled in a row with their Union, who have withheld salaries and commercial payments to players.

The team coach, Innocent Simiyu, was fired last week but has since been reinstated after the Kenyan Government intervened.

This was after players taping up sponsors’ branding on their jerseys at the recent Paris 7s, the final leg of the World Series.

The players have also raised concerns over poor training facilities and short-term contracts.

"We are supporting the Kenya 7s players who have not been paid what’s owed to them for months, as well trying to make a living on temporary contracts.

"Players have families and bills to pay.

"Not good enough anymore," said Boss.

International Rugby Players decried the huge gap in welfare between tier two countries and the other countries that run their sports professionally.

"All these teams are expected to compete against tier one unions, yet they are fighting for basic pay and conditions against those who should be supporting them.

"Peace of mind is key to performance.

"The boys have obligations, personal and family commitments and bills to pay.

"It’s unrealistic for teams to be competitive if they are worrying about these issues ahead of major international tournaments, like the forthcoming Rugby World Cup 7s," said Boss.

"The players have only eight month contracts, which adds to the uncertainty. Kenya Rugby Union need to step up and urgently address this whole situation."

Kenya team is due to resume training on Monday after boycotting their preparations since last week.

Kenya start their campaign at the World Cup against Tonga with the winner meeting Scotland.


Kenya challenges rugby team to go for World Cup glory, reinstate sponsorship

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa has challenged the Sevens rugby team to rise above their petty problems and clinch the World Cup in San Francisco, the United States.

Echesa, who was speaking in Nairobi Friday together with Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, when they met the Sevens team wants Kenya to walk the talk and win the World Cup.

The two Cabinet Secretaries used the opportunity to reinstate Brand Kenya’s sponsorship to the Sevens rugby team, Shujaa, ahead of their trip to San Francisco from July 20-23.

"We have overcome this challenge. Now go and conquer the world," said Echesa.

The tourism minister had cancelled the 200,000 U.S. dollar sponsorship with the team after they had blocked the sponsor’s signage on their shirts during the final leg of the World Series in Paris on June 10.

However, after lengthy negotiation, the sports and tourism ministry agreed to restore the deal.

"We have opted to talk because the government is happy and impressed with the progress the sevens team has had and glory it has brought the country for years.

"That is why we called the players to chat with them.

"The important thing is the players apologized on the action they took in Paris because it was embarrassing to the country.

"Whatever differences they had with Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) should not have been shown to the global audience," said Balala.

In join conference with KRU, Balala reassured the Sevens team that their sponsorship is guaranteed and the government will continue supporting them.

The team will now have the ‘Magical Kenya’ brand on their shirt and not the ‘Make it Kenya’ in a new three-year deal.

The two ministers will also discuss with KRU Chairman Richard Omwela and CEO Ronald Bukusi on the new deal.

"It has been accepted globally that everything you do in Kenya is magical including our Kenya Sevens team Shujaa’s performances on the international forum," said Balala.

Kenya Sevens team captain Andrew Amonde was present in the meeting to confirm that the Ministry of Tourism will pay players 25,000 dollars in outstanding wages.

"The players are sorry for what happened. We are happy as a team for this and we now focus on what is ahead to excel at the World Cup," said Amonde.

Echesa had also restored Innocent Simiyu as head coach after the union had sacked him for the actions the players did.

The World Cup starts off with their match against Tonga and winner will meet Scotland.


Kenya will re-instate rugby Coach as players to resume training

Kenya Rugby Sevens World Cup likely end as Sponsors Cancel



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