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Will Simbas roar?

By Alex Njue
Friday, December 18th, 2020
Simbas’ forward Elkeans Musonye in action against Zambia during the 2019 Victoria Cup at the RFUEA grounds, Nairobi. Photo/PD/ALEX NJUE
In summary

Simbas head coach Paul Odera believes Kenya should not be daunted by the prospect of facing established sides in the 2023 Rugby World Cup if they earn their maiden appearance. 

Should Simbas qualify for the Rugby World Cup qualification as ‘Africa 1’, they  will face two of the world’s top five - France (4th) and New Zealand (3rd) - Italy (14th) and America 1 in Pool A.

“If we qualify it’s going to be tough and we will be the ‘weakest’ team in Pool A, but for a team like Kenya it’s necessary.

France is playing like the old French teams and truly one of the sides to watch out for while New Zealand are the All Blacks.

Italy has a professional league running and their participation in Six Nations earns them experience.

America 1 won’t be a pushover side as well. There is no doubt the pool is tough,” Odera told People Sport.

The 2019 RWC repechage offered Simbas a taste of international competition despite losing all three pool matches.

Kenya scored a total of 42 points and conceded 150 points against Canada (65-19), Hong Kong (42-17) and Germany (43-6). 

“Looking at Pool C, should we get there through repechage, it doesn’t get any easier. It’s a heavily built pool.

There is no soft team in a world cup and it won’t be easier against Fiji, Wales, Australia and Europe 1,” added Odera.

After sailing through the dreaded repechage, only the winner will proceed to Pool C where Australia, Wales, Fiji and Europe 1 will be awaiting.

The RWC 2023 draw was conducted in Paris on Monday with South Africa kickstarting the Webb Ellis Cup defence in Pool B against Ireland and Scotland and Europe 2 and Pacific 1 qualifiers.

England have been drawn in Pool D with Japan, Argentina and two others to be confirmed to wrap up the 10th edition of the Rugby World Cup that sees rivals Ireland and Scotland drawn together for a second successive time. 

Only Ireland made it through to the knockouts in Japan in 2019.

The tournament is scheduled to run from September 8, 2023 to October 21 2023 with the confirmed fixtures and kick-off times to be announced later.

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