Kenya rugby team takes positives despite missing World Cup

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-25 09:05:03|Editor: Li Xia
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NAIROBI, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Captain of the Kenya rugby 15s team Wilson Kopondo says his team has taken positives despite their failure to make the 2019 World Cup.

Kopondo said the team has gained valuable experience ahead of the 2019 season, where some players will drop down to the Sevens game and seek qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games.

"It has been a very good experience for the country, we have taken the lessons and seen the level we need to aspire too and that is what we will be working towards for the next qualifiers," he said.

Four teams of Kenya, Canada, Germany and Hong Kong, China were battling for the last slot after losing out in their respective continental World Cup qualifiers.

And it was Canada who made the final spot to join 19 other qualifiers after beating Hong Kong, China 27-10 in the final match of the repechage tournament in France on Friday.

Germany finished second after recording a bonus-point 43-6 victory over Kenya. Hong Kong, China finished third and Kenya fourth.

Head coach Ian Snook says lack of good preparations and support may have cost the team the ticket to the World Cup.

"I don't have any plans at the moment. I will speak with the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) and we will see where we take it from here," said Snook.

During the World Cup, Canada will play in Pool B against defending champions New Zealand, two-time winners South Africa, Italy and African qualifiers Namibia, with their first match to be against the Azzurri (New Zealand) in Fukuoka, Japan in September 2019.

Twelve teams have qualified directly by virtue of finishing in the top three of their respective pools at the World Cup 2015 in England. The remaining eight places were determined by a process of regional and cross-regional qualifiers.

The qualification process, which began in March 2016, has involved 188 matches across 994 days among 71 teams for a dream of playing at 2019 World Cup.

The last eight qualifiers are USA, Uruguay, Russia, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Namibia and Canada.