Tunisia upbeat ahead of match with rivals Kenya in Rugby Africa Gold Cup

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-07 22:03:41|Editor: zh
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NAIROBI, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Tunisian rugby 15s side arrived in Nairobi buoyant about their chances of turning the tide in their bid to evade relegation and remain in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup competition next season.

With the hopes of making it to the 2019 World Cup gone, Tunisia is embroiled in a brawl for survival against fellow strugglers Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Tunisia coach Ahmed Guerbech however believes a win against Kenya will help them navigate through the relegation waters.

"We prepared well for this game. We still have two more games that are not going to be easy, one which is away and we finish at home. Today, we are guaranteed an 80 percent chance of staying in Gold Cup category. The players are ready to make sacrifices by leaving everything behind and fighting for the team," said Guerbech.

Tunisia's top try scorers Mohamed Mliss and Mohamed Ali Gafsi will be out to lead their team from the front.

Already, Zambia has been promoted to the Gold cup campaign next season after winning the Africa Silver Cup tournament. The last team in the Gold Cup will be dropped to the Silver Cup category next year.

However, three teams Kenya, defending champions Namibia and Morocco still have a chance of making it to the top and qualifying for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Kenya will be hosting Tunisia on Saturday in Nairobi with a win cementing their place in the top two.

Kenya and Tunisia played their first test in 1997, with the North Africans crushing their East African opponents 52-5 in this match which served as qualifier for the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

Saturday's Rugby Africa Gold Cup clash at the RFUEA will be the 10th test between the two sides and the tables have turned with Kenya holding the upper hand leading the head to head statistics with six overall wins including four wins on the trot since 2011 when the two sides faced off in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup final in Nairobi.

This year's Rugby Africa Gold Cup serves as the African qualifying round for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. The overall winner will secure qualification to next year's competition with the runners-up heading to a global repechage competition in Marseille, France in November to compete with Canada, Germany as well as Hong Kong, China for the final slot at rugby World Cup 2019.

The Kenya team currently lies second on the log, boasting three wins from three outings (28-24 against Morocco, 45-36 over Zimbabwe and 38-22 versus Uganda).