Inaugural Samburu Rugby Sevens launched

Alvin Otieno

Shujaa"s Alvin Otieno (right) makes a try against Morans during their semi-final match at the Safari Sevens at Nyayo National Stadium on October 31, 2021.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Rugby union features 15 players with the shorter version having seven players, while rugby league is also a full contact sport played by two teams of 13 players each side with the shorter version having nine players.
  • “The Rugby Union that is the Rhino Cup will have the top Elite Tier featuring professional sides, Second Tier that will have semi-professional teams and Third Tier,” said Mulroy, adding that Kenya Sevens might feature in the Elite Tier.

The maiden Samburu Rugby Sevens that will feature both the Rugby Union and Rugby League versions will take place from July 15 to 17 at Kalama Conservancy, Samburu County.

The organisers, World Sports Safaris Limited, disclosed during the launch Tuesday at Ibis Hotel, Nairobi that 50 teams will take part in the Rugby Union version that will have three tiers.

World Sports Safaris Limited chief executive officer, Mike Mulroy, disclosed that World Rugby Sevens Series teams from Europe will be invited for the Rugby Union tournament that will be known as “Rhino Cup.”

On the other hand, Mulroy said that 18 teams including 10 from Africa will battle it out in the Rugby League tournament that will be given a name later.

There are some slight rules that define the two codes of the game in Rugby Union that is the most popular in Kenya and Rugby League. There are no lineouts and contested mauls in Rugby League unlike in Rugby Union.

Rugby league is played on a rectangular field measuring 68m wide and 112-122m long, while Rugby Union pitch measures 100m long and 69m wide.

Rugby union features 15 players with the shorter version having seven players, while rugby league is also a full contact sport played by two teams of 13 players each side with the shorter version having nine players.

“The Rugby Union that is the Rhino Cup will have the top Elite Tier featuring professional sides, Second Tier that will have semi-professional teams and Third Tier,” said Mulroy, adding that Kenya Sevens might feature in the Elite Tier.

Mulroy said that their intention is to draw top European teams from the World Sevens Series that will have concluded in March and those preparing for the Commonwealth Games due for July 24 to August 8 in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

World Sports Safaris Limited Director, Kevin Adhere, explained that the tournaments are geared towards developing an international sporting facility in Kalama Conservancy, besides rugby teams in both the Rugby league and Rugby Union versions in the region.

“Water is a big problem in the area and we intend to sink a borehole and construct a dam at Kalama Conservancy this year. We also want to conserve both the wildlife and environment,” said Adhere.

Adhere was accompanied by Kalama Conservancy chairman, Michael Lesiamito, the conservancy manager, Tom Lolosoli and Samburu County chief officer tourism and wildlife conservation, Lydia Letinina.

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