The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Fifteens Team Land Invite to Four Nations Cup in Dubai

The Kenya 15-a-side team will take part in the Emirates Four Nations Cup in Dubai at the end of the year. Kenya will face off against UAE, Japan and Brazil in the tournament slated for December.

However, they expect two other teams to confirm participation, which may bring total number of countries for the show to six. Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Mwangi Muthee said the tourney will be ideal preparation for next year's Confederation of Africa Rugby tournament which will act a qualifier for 2015 World Cup. Muthee said it's imperative that the team remains competitive for next season. "We are looking at the tournament to assert ourselves in the qualifiers for next year and playing the likes of Hong Kong and Japan will be crucial if we are to qualify for the Rugby World Cup in 2015," he added.

Muthee said he is disappointed over Zimbabwe and Uganda's last minute withdrawal from the Victoria Cup. He said the event would have given the team more fixtures and build-up next year. " It is disappointing for us to miss out on playing Zimbabwe and Uganda and for reasons best known to themselves. We hope such a thing will not happen next year," he said. Muthee said they are reviewing the structure in the 15s rugby ranks with view to making changes by the end of the year. Kenya made its debut in the Four Nations tournament last year and beat Brazil and UAE before losing out to Hong Kong in the final to finish a credible second position.

Elsewhere, Sevens coach Mike Friday has expressed confidence that Kenya will bounce back in the 2012-2013 IRB Seven series starting in October. Friday, who conducted his first training over the weekend, promised to work together with the rest of the technical bench to revitalize Kenya's fortunes which have slumped in the last two seasons. The team will undertake a 10-week conditioning programme before the start of the IRB series and Friday expects the players to be in good shape by the start of the series in Argentina. Friday has selected a 43-man provisional squad.

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