Kenya eyes Namibia, Tunisia in Africa junior rugby tourney in Nairobi

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-01 19:40:21|Editor: xuxin
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NAIROBI, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Revenge will be in the air as Kenya targets Tunisia's and Namibia's scalps in the Africa Junior Rugby Cup, which will be held in Nairobi from Thursday.

Four teams, including hosts Kenya, champions Namibia, Tunisia and Senegal will do everything in their power to win the three-day tournament, which is called christened Berthes Cup.

The winners will qualify for the 2019 Junior World Rugby Trophy set for Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil from July 9-21.

Kenya's head coach Paul Odera says he will use the home advantage to get one over on Tunisia, who beat Kenya in 2016, and Namibia, who have kept a strong grip on the trophy in the last three tournaments.

"Tunisia have heavy forwards and some dangerous players in the back-line but it is something that we are more than equipped to handle. We are prepared for it, our research has informed our developing and training sessions so that we're able to deal with these teams," Odera said on Monday.

The Kenyan tactician was also buoyant about his team's prospects against champions Namibia, as they target their first win over the southern Africans.

"If we do play Namibia again, I mean last year we pushed them hard but we lost. The score however didn't reflect how close the game was. Hopefully this year, if we can get the players mentally, physically and skillfully ready, perhaps we can be able to finally get a positive result against them at this level," he added.

This year's Barthes Cup takes place in Nairobi from April 4-7. The tournament is Rugby Africa's official U-20 championship. It pits four teams competing for the overall title and with it, qualification to the World Rugby U-20 Trophy.

Namibia have been the perennial winners of this tournament. They come to Nairobi with one thing on their mind: to retain the Barthes Cup and once again represent Africa at the world stage.

Kenya will seek a new beginning having lost the last three finals to Namibia and will look to point to the reducing margins of defeat as a well as a larger talent pool as reasons to believe they can challenge for the title and return to the world junior rugby tournament in 2009.

Tunisia and Senegal will play in Nairobi by virtue of reaching last year's second tier Africa U-20 final, a fixture that saw the North Africans secure a 11-8 win in extra time over their West African opponents.

Little is known of the two sides at the U-20 level but they will certainly be in Nairobi, not to make up the numbers, but to compete and rattle the status quo.