NAIROBI, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's 15s rugby team has dropped Portugal from its initial itinerary and will instead play Romania in the build up to the Rugby World Cup repechage tournament in Marseille, France in November.
The team, known as "The Simbas", has also lined up three other friendly matches to gauge the players' preparation ahead of the repechage where Kenya will face other continental losers from the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas.
The repechage in France will see the Simbas face China's Hong Kong, Canada and Germany in a round robin tournament with the overall winner securing qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The repechage tournament runs from Nov. 11-23. "The Simbas will play the British Army first on Oct 7, then meet Namibia on Oct 21 and a semi-professional side from South Africa's Blue Bulls on Oct 28. These fixtures will be played in Nairobi," said Kenya Rugby Union chairman Richard Omwela on Tuesday.
Kenya will then play against Romania on Nov. 3 in Bucharest before heading to Marseille. Kenya lost to Namibia in the Africa Gold Cup, missing out on automatic qualification to the World Cup in Japan.
Namibia and South Africa will be representing Africa in the World Cup and Kenya will become the third team should they win the repechage tournament. Hong Kong confirmed their place in the repechage by beating the Cook Islands 77-3.
They join Canada, who were confirmed in February following their defeat to Uruguay in the Americas. Germany made the final after they lost out to Samoa.
The winner in Marseille will secure a slot in Pool B at the Rugby World Cup alongside defending champions New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia.