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England, South Africa, USA and Canada are among top teams invited for Safari 7s

England, South Africa, USA and Canada are among top teams invited for this year’s Safari Sevens, Kenya Rugby Union announced yesterday.

The tournament is set to be held between October 18th and 20th at the RFEUA grounds. Last week, there were doubts on whether the tournament will go on as earlier planned due to lack of finances to carry out planning. However,  KRU vice-chairman Thomas Opiyo yesterday announced they are talking to potential sponsors and there are positive developments.

However, the union ruled out the possibility of having prize money for the tournament, insisting majority of the teams invited are more interested in how competitive the tournament will be. “We can’t have prize money for this tournament. All those teams invited would only be interested in playing in a competitive tournament and that’s what we want to give,” Opiyo said.

Over the last few years, the tournament has failed to attract high-level teams as opposed to a few years ago when the likes of South Africa would take part. The decline was further worsened by withdrawal of main sponsors Safaricom back in 2014 after disagreements.

Last year, the tournament returned to the RFEUA grounds for the first time since 2010 but still failed to attract top teams. However, the KRU are determined to give fans a good tournament this year and Opiyo appealed to rugby fans across the country to show their support for Safari Sevens.

According to Opiyo, several teams have already confirmed participation but he declined to name them, saying it was too early to make the announcement. The union hope to have sponsors on board by next month to start preparing. KRU were in talks with current sevens circuit sponsors Stanbic Bank over sponsoring the tournament but said their current financial status couldn’t allow them to sponsor the tournament. Kenya will be represented by two teams in the tournament.

Meanwhile, after skipping Kabeberi 7’s, Western Bulls are targeting to reach the Main Cup quarter-finals during the third round of the Stanbic Bank National 7’s Circuit, Dala 7’s in Kisumu.

Coach Bram Shikanda said they have had serious training for the last two weeks and hopes for better performance. “We want to remain in Division One for the remaining rounds of the series. We are playing in Division One as an invitational side,” added Shikanda, who guided Bulls back to Kenya Cup after two seasons in the cold.

However, in tomorrow’s Group ‘B’ games at Mamboleo ASK showground, Bulls will face Menengai Oilers, Masinde Murilo University of Science and Technology and Strathmore Leos. Shikanda said the pool is tough but added that his boys are up to the challenge. .The team made a comeback during the Kakamega 7’s after staying out 7’s circuit for two seasons.