NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s 15s rugby team has dropped
Portugal from its initial itinerary and will instead play
Romania in the build up to the Rugby World Cup repechage
tournament in Marseille, France in November.
known as "The Simbas", has also lined up three other friendly
matches to gauge the players’ preparation ahead of the repechage
where Kenya will face other continental losers from the
Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas.
The repechage in France will see the Simbas face China’s Hong
Kong, Canada and Germany in a round robin tournament with the
overall winner securing qualification for the 2019 Rugby World
Cup in Japan.
The repechage tournament runs from Nov. 11-23.
"The Simbas will play the British Army first on Oct 7, then
meet Namibia on Oct 21 and a semi-professional side from South
Africa’s Blue Bulls on Oct 28.
"These fixtures will be played in Nairobi," said Kenya Rugby
Union chairman Richard Omwela on Tuesday.
Kenya will then play against Romania on Nov. 3 in Bucharest
before heading to Marseille. Kenya lost to Namibia in the Africa
Gold Cup, missing out on automatic qualification to the World
Cup in Japan.
Namibia and South Africa will be representing Africa in the
World Cup and Kenya will become the third team should they win
the repechage tournament.
Hong Kong confirmed their place in the repechage by beating
the Cook Islands 77-3.
They join Canada, who were confirmed in February following
their defeat to Uruguay in the Americas. Germany made the final
after they lost out to Samoa.
The winner in Marseille will secure a slot in Pool B at the
Rugby World Cup alongside defending champions New Zealand, South
Africa, Italy and Namibia.