by John Kwoba
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Four countries
have come together to revive the Victoria Cup following the
cancellation of Africa Rugby Gold Cup.
Zimbabwe and Zambia will play in a round robin format in the
rugby 15s to boost their international exposure in the Victoria
Cup starting June 22.
The Victoria Cup previously featured Kenya and Zimbabwe
between 2002 and 2003 before it was scrapped in 2004.
This time around, it will feature Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe and
new participant Zambia.
Rugby World Cup-bound Namibia is not part of the competition.
Kenya’s head coach Paul Odera said the competition is
important as it will help sharpen the team and keep the players
competitive in a transitional year.
"It’s good to have four games for the team as it will grow
our young team and enable them to face the best on the
continent," said Odera on Monday.
The Elgon Cup clash between Kenya and Uganda in Kisumu on
Saturday will double up as Victoria Cup opener for the two
The return leg match will be played on July 13 in Kampala.
Kenya will then host Zimbabwe on July 6 with the return leg
on July 20 in Harare. Kenya’s last away match is against Zambia
on July 27 with the return leg set for Aug. 17.
Following the cancellation of the Gold Cup, Rugby Africa has
also unveiled a new competition format where the 16 best African
teams will compete in a truly continental rugby championship
made up of 20 matches divided into three stages.
"We are completely revising our system of competition.
"By introducing this new format, we hope to forge new
partnerships that will allow us to improve our game every year,"
said Khaled Babbou, president of Rugby Africa.
Starting from November 2019, 16 teams will compete in the new
Rugby Africa Cup (RAC) with an aim to qualify for the 2023 Rugby
World Cup in 2022.
The top 16 teams based on the African ranking will compete in
a single coordinated competition until the last two face each
other in the final.
The first stage consists of a qualifying round where the
winner of each of these four matches will progress to the group
In this second stage, the 12 teams are divided into four
pools with teams playing against each other in a home and away
The winner of each group will progress to the final
tournament of the RAC.
The top four teams from Africa will meet in one venue for the
final stage of the RAC, which will include two semi-finals, a
play-off for third place and, ultimately, the final to decide
who will be the African champions.
"This arrangement gives every team a chance to make it to the
finals and will reward merit and performance.
"The teams that are eliminated in the first round will have
another chance in November 2020 to try and re-qualify," said
Andrew Owor, vice president of Rugby Africa.
Kenya and Uganda to use
Cup as build-up for World Cup qualifiers
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya and Uganda have opted to revive the
regional women’s 15s rugby Elgon Cup tournament to provide
better exposure and development for the sport.
Only the men’s team has been competing in the Elgon Cup
tournament, but the two rugby unions will for the first time
incorporate their female teams, with the aim to offer a platform
to develop their games ahead of the 2021 World Cup in New
The Kenyan team the Lionesses head coach Felix Oloo says his
team is ready to take on their rivals the Ugandan Lady Cranes.
This year’s Elgon Cup will be played on a home and away
basis. Kisumu City will host the first round on Saturday.
"We are confident with the capacity of the squad selected to
"Uganda has heavy forwards and they will be out to display
their defensive play.
"The Lionesses however are well prepared for this encounter,"
Oloo said on Wednesday in Nairobi.
The Kenyan women’s rugby team has not been in action in the
15’s version since 2015 when they clinched the Elgon Cup the
"Our ultimate goal is to qualify for the World Cup later this
year during the Africa Women’s qualifiers in South Africa.
"I have a very hard working technical team that has ensured
we have smooth training sessions daily.
"The players have also been very hardworking, they have shown
their determination and yearning to don the National jersey and
represent their country at the Elgon Cup and beyond," said Oloo.
The president of the Uganda Rugby Union, Godwin Kayangwe has
expressed his gratitude for the revival of the women’s 15s
"I must thank the countries for their hard work to revive the
tournament and the support the team has received from sponsors,"
Africa World Cup qualifiers in Johannesburg will see four
teams competing to win their place to play in New Zealand
including hosts South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Madagascar.
Only the winner will secure the ticket while the second
ranked team will have a chance through the repechage tournament
via a play-off with South America second-placed team.
Africa lags behind other parts of the world in terms of
women’s rugby. It has sent no representative to previous Women’s
Rugby 15s World Cup.