What you need to know:
- South Africa Rugby tournament director Yusuf Jackson disclosed Tuesday that Kenya Simbas, who are currently in South Africa will play two of their Currie Cup matches in Nairobi in June this year
- Jackson said it's South Africa's wish to create Rugby opportunities for players not only in South Africa but across the continent
- Jackson said that this is a great moment to strengthen Africa rugby since it will expose players as well as give them a feel and taste of continent
History beckons when Currie Cup Division One is staged outside South Africa for the first time.
South Africa Rugby tournament director Yusuf Jackson disclosed Tuesday that Kenya Simbas, who are currently in South Africa will play two of their Currie Cup matches in Nairobi in June this year.
The Simbas will take on Leopards on June 4 before meeting Eastern Province Elephants on June 11 in the battle dubbed the "Nairobi Series."
All matches will be played at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) ground.
Jackson said it's South Africa's wish to create Rugby opportunities for players not only in South Africa but across the continent.
Jackson, was speaking during the launch of the "Nairobi Series" at The Curve at the Park hotel, Nairobi.
Jackson was accompanied by his host, Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Oduor Gangla, Eastern Province Rugby chief executive officer, Thando Manana and Elephants Rugby counterpart, Eugene Fourie.
Also present was Raymond Oruo from Direct Sports Management, a firm that is marketing the Currie Cup Nairobi Series.
"When Kenya Rugby Union floated the idea of playing in the Currie Cup and hosting some matches in Kenya, it wasn't about yes or no but how to introduce them in the event," said Jackson. "We had to create a platform for Kenya and in Kenya too."
Jackson said that this is a great moment to strengthen Africa rugby since it will expose players as well as give them a feel and taste of continent.
"South African players will also get an opportunity to travel outside South Africa," said Jackson, adding that they are determined to have more African countries taking part besides Kenya Simbas and Zimbabwe Sables.
"Rugby administration and the media have important role to play in this new venture," said Jackson.
Jackson hopes that the Currie Cup outing will help Kenya Simbas and Zimbabwe Sables prepare well for the Africa Rugby qualifying tournament to the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
The qualifier will take place in the French cities of Marseille and Aixen from July 1 to 10 this year.
Manana, the third black African player to feature for Springboks, said that Kenya had dreamt of participating in Currie Cup and grow the game.
"Dream is bigger than the goal and I am happy that Kenya is realising that," said Manana, adding that Kenya Simbas can only grow through participating in his calibre competition.
"We don't want to be exclusive but inclusive in South Africa."
Manana is happy that Kenya Simbas is getting better with their conditioning aspect from the three matches they have played so far despite losing.
"Currie Cup isn't easy, it being the oldest rugby competition. This is just first division and Kenya is up against full professional sides. The players are learning pretty fast," said Manana.
Fourie said touring Kenya will also be a good opportunity and experience for their players.
"There is excitement in South Africa and this is good," said Fourie, adding that Kenya Simbas will get better with more participation.
"Rome wasn't build in a day. They must play tougher opponents to get better. They will need two more seasons to match the big boys in Currie Cup," said Fourie.
Gangla thanked Direct Sports Management and South Africa Rugby for making the Series happen adding that the Union will ensure that Kenya Simbas participate in Currie Cup Division One next year and thereafter.
"We need to grow our game and this is they way to go. We shall need to look for more competitons for Kenya Simbas besides Currie Cup," said Gangla.
The 2022 Currie Cup Division One will be the 84th edition. It is the second tier, running alongside the 2022 Currie Cup Premier Division.
The Simbas lost their opening match to Falcons 51-14 on April 9 before going down to Zimbabwe 22-21 on April 23 and Griffons 66-33 on April 30.