10 January 2002

Kenya: Revived Tuskers to go on tour in March

Plans to revive the East African XV rugby side are at an advanced stage.

The team, traditionally a tour side under the name Tuskers, last went abroad in 1982. They toured Zambia and Zimbabwe. Then, the entire squad comprised all Kenyan players with the exception of David Nsubuga of Uganda. Rodney Evans was the last captain of the Tuskers and tour manager was Rob Bertram, then chairman of Nondescripts RUFC.

Richard Omwela, the Kenya Rugby Football Union secretary said yesterday he had been in touch with the Uganda Rugby Football Union chairman Paul Sigombe in his bid to revive the Tuskers after Uganda received an invitation to tour Zimbabwe in March.

"We are firm on selecting 15 players from each country for a strong touring squad of 30," Omwela said. He did not explain why there will be no invitations from Tanzania.

The two-match tour is set for the end of March and there is a possibility of stopping over in Zambia for one match. In Zimbabwe, the select side will play one match in Harare and another in Bulawayo.

Issues yet to be resolved include naming the team coach as well as working out the training programme.

The KRFU and URFU will also approach Kenya Breweries Limited for sponsorship. "Our teams get no exposure unless they are playing in Rugby World Cup qualifiers and this will be a good avenue to identify quality players," Omwela said.

Tour dates will be confirmed next week. Omwela added that it would be good to undertake the tour before the season starts. Also in the pipeline is a possible tour by the Madagascar team.

"As a part of their preparations, we have a score to settle. We want to invite and beat them at home," the KRFU secretary said.

When the KRFU chairman George Kariuki goes for a Confederation of African Rugby meeting in South Africa on January 25, he will push for a provincial side to tour Kenya either in July or August. These are some of the proposals put forward by the Kenya team technical bench as a means of improving their performance in the 15-a-side game.

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