Kenya rugby 15s jet off for France World Cup qualifiers after financial boost-Xinhua

Kenya rugby 15s jet off for France World Cup qualifiers after financial boost

Source: Xinhua| 2022-06-29 23:00:45|Editor: huaxia

NAIROBI, June 29 (Xinhua) -- The Kenya Rugby 15s team, the Simbas, departed for France on Tuesday night for the 2023 Rugby World Cup Africa qualifiers that start on Friday in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.

The team has appealed for donations to fully fund the trip last week and received 10 million shillings (about 84,900 U.S. dollars) on Tuesday in sponsorship.

The Simbas will play archrivals and neighbors Uganda on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the African qualifiers in their opening match.

Prior to the departure, captain Dan Sikuta said that the team is determined to post a good performance as Kenya seeks to qualify for the Rugby World Cup for the first time in history.

"We have experienced a lot of challenges but we have learned a lot as we prepare for the World Cup qualifiers in France. That is a knockout stage and we have done our homework as a team and we know we shall qualify for the semifinals," Sikuta told reporters in Nairobi.

The Simbas warmed up for the qualifiers by playing in the 2022 Currie Cup First Division, where they beat the Border Bulldogs 35-12 in Alice, South Africa in May after losing their opener to Falcons 51-14 on April 9.

Kenya also lost to Zimbabwe 22-21 in a nail-biter and fell to Giffons 66-33 on April 23.

On June 11, Simbas upset South Africa's top side the Elephants 41-24 in Nairobi, which gave the team confidence.