Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What Kenya's exploits at the Rugby World Cup Sevens means for Africa

(Courtesy of the Kenya Rugby Football Union)

Kenya's automatic qualification to the next Rugby World Cup Sevens is good news to African countries.

Before the fifth RWC Sevens in Dubai, questions were asked why Kenya was made to go through a qualification process in the Africa zone after proving her worth in the IRB Sevens World Series Circuit. The doubting Thomases were shamed after Kenya defied all odds to reach the fifth RWC Sevens in Dubai.

By reaching the main cup quarter final, Kenya had already joined the elite group of eight teams who automatically qualify. Unfortunately, there were some casualties on the way who will have to endure the qualification process. Among these are USA, Australia, France and Scotland who are core teams in the IRB Sevens World Series.

But, Kenya opened the doors for Namibia, Tunisia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda who have been knocking on the doors of the RWC Sevens. It means Africa shall have five teams at the next RWC Sevens after Kenya and South Africa made it through automatically.

By virtue of reaching the semi-final, Kenya is likely to get a top four seeding unless the IRB uses the current form in the IRB Sevens World Series to determine the seedings like they did this year.

One of the ripple effects of Kenya's qualification could be a strong message to the International Olympic Committee that seven-a-side rugby needs to be included in the next Olympic Games.

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