Kenya national rugby union team

Kenya national rugby union team

Kenya
Union Kenya Rugby Football Union
Nickname(s) The Simbas
Emblem(s) The African Lion
Ground(s) RFUEA Ground
Coach(es) Jerome Paarwater
Captain(s) Brian Nyikuli
Most caps Joel Nganga (52)
First international
Kenya  Kenya won  Tanganyika[1][1]
(1954)
Largest win
Kenya  96 - 3  Nigeria
(1987-08-10)
Largest defeat
Kenya  12 - 84  Namibia
(2006-05-27)
Official website
.com.kenyarfuwww

The Kenya national rugby union team represent Kenya in rugby union. The team is also known as the Simbas, which is the Swahili word for a lion.

Kenya competes in the Africa Cup and is ranked twenty-eighth in the World Rugby Rankings as of September 2015. With the exception of Hong Kong, Kenya has recorded a victory against every opponent it has faced. Kenya has never qualified for the Rugby World Cup.[2]

Their home ground is the RFUEA Ground which opened to an East Africa side against the British and Irish Lions in 1955.

The national team is managed by the Kenya Rugby Union.

Contents

  • History 1
    • Early history (1909 through independence) 1.1
    • Independence, integration and turmoil (1970s-1980s) 1.2
    • Mixed fortunes, near advances and entrance into the sevens stage (1990s - present) 1.3
  • Record 2
    • World Cup Record 2.1
    • Africa Cup Record 2.2
  • Current Squad 3
  • Recent Results 4
    • 2015 Summer Internationals 4.1
    • Elgon Cup 2015 4.2
    • Africa Cup 2015 4.3
  • Notable players 5
  • Notes 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

History

Early history (1909 through independence)

Rugby Union was introduced to Kenya at the beginning of the 20th Century by British settlers and the first recorded match was in 1909. The game was initially restricted to whites only.

In 1923, the primary club in Kenya, Nairobi District, was split into Nondescripts RFC and Harlequins, due to the club's overwhelming strength. In the 1950s the first internationals began taking place.[3] Early competitions included the Nairobi District Championships first held in 1925, a Royal Armed Forces tournament first held in 1937 and the Enterprise Cup which has been in existence since 1930.

Kenya played host to touring sides between the 1920s and the 1950s; notably including University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University and a Combined Universities (Oxford and Cambridge) team at Mitchell Park Stadium in 1951.

By 1953, the Rugby Football Union of East Africa was formed to oversee rugby in the three East African colonies of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika. A Kenya Colony team played a Tanganyika team for the first time in 1954 and a Uganda Protectorate team in 1958 with the Kenyan representative side winning 21-11. Often, the Kenyan side was combined with other East African nations, and composed of players of European ethnicity. While the results were often lopsided, these games provided a huge amount of revenue for rugby in Kenya, and were incredibly beneficial. Kenya, as an independent side, played its first game against Tanganyika, proving to be victorious.

Independence, integration and turmoil (1970s-1980s)

Post-independence, the desegregation of the Kenyan school system meant that indigenous black Africans' featured in the rugby sides of elite schools such as Duke of York and Prince of Wales. Players such as Chris Onsotti, John Gichinga, Dennis Awori, George Kariuki and Jim Owino would form the first generation of indigenous black African rugby players.

In 1972, Ted Kabetu became the first indigenous black Kenyan to play for the East Africa Tuskers in a match against Richmond RFC. That same year, the Tuskers played a tour against Ireland, achieving moderate success and winning 3 out of their 8 tests; Chris Onsotti became the first forward black Tusker playing at prop on the Fourth Tuskers Tour of Ireland in 1972; and Jackson "Jacko" Omaido a school boy at Lenana School (formerly Duke of York) represented the Tuskers playing at fly-half at a 1975 tour of Zambia.

An influx of players from Tanganyika due to a flight of expatriates would boost the Kenyan game. During the early 1970s, a number of English clubs began touring Kenya, playing unofficial test matches against the Tuskers. This included Harlequins RFC nearly being beaten, only for the Tuskers to lose 20-15.

After an invitation in the local dailies to black African rugby players, Miro RFC was formed as an invitational side; rather like the Barbarians or local equivalents, Scorpions RFC. Miro were an all black African side and included two white players (Doug Hamilton and Pat Orr); considered to have played an important role in bringing black Africans into rugby in Kenya. The team played Rugby Roma Olimpic in 1976, winning 20-12. However, the side was disbanded over questions of the racial selection of players.

The Tuskers, by the mid 1970s being fully integrated with both black and whites, faced Zambia, winning 4 tests out of 5. Around this time, some clubs began folding due to the flight of white expatriate players. Despite the growth, conflicts emerged between the black Kenyan players and the many clubs which were still run by expatriates; Miro RFC played again in 1979, this time recording triumph against Blackheath F.C. 32-19, providing major hope for black African rugby.

Mean Machine RFC and Mwamba RFC both founded in 1977 as indigenous African rugby sides. Mean Machine, a representative side of the University of Nairobi featuring Absalom "Bimbo" Mutere, Tom Oketch and football international Joe "JJ" Masiga were notable for winning the Kenya Cup on their first attempt. Black Blad RFC representing Kenyatta University College would follow thereafter. Mean Machine were however disbanded as a result of the closure of Nairobi University after the failed coup of 1982.

Miro RFC continued to play, but lost to the Metropolitan Police club of London 40-9, a side that was described as "makeshift". Around this time, the Tuskers played their last tour in 1982, defeating Zimbabwe and Zambia. The 1980s also saw the introduction of the sevens game. However, the 1980s also saw a decline in the national side; for example, during a qualifier play-off against Zimbabwe, Kenya lost all three of their matches; by the end of the 1980s, Kenya lost to Zimbabwe 56-9.

Mixed fortunes, near advances and entrance into the sevens stage (1990s - present)

Kenya had firmly established stability in its domestic scene, with the game being picked up by the natives, and a league being established. However, this came at a cost; the national team continued to struggle, and was losing to other African teams such as Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Tunisia. Despite this, some positives showed; Kenya finally entered the IRB World Sevens, although the team struggled at first, losing to Fiji 70-0 on one occasion.

During the 2000s Kenya began to start experiencing success again at the international level, finally being able to consistently record victories against sides such as Zimbabwe. In 2004, the Kenyan rugby sevens side was invited to start playing at the IRB World Sevens Series.

For the 2007 Rugby World Cup qualifiers, the team defeated both Tunisia and Namibia at home, only to lose their away legs. The team again failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2011, losing to Tunisia.

In 2011, Kenya won the Africa Cup, beating Tunisia in the final 16-7 after both Morocco and Namibia withdrew due to financial constraints; the following season saw Kenya regress and struggle against Uganda and Zimbabwe, only defeating Tunisia to avoid relegation. The 2013 season proved to be a pivotal moment in Kenyan rugby, as they beat both Uganda and Zimbabwe, winning the Africa Cup for the second time, and the first time in a full 4-team pool.

The Simba XV logo

The Kenyan national team also competed in the South African domestic Vodacom Cup competition in 2014, playing as the Simba XV. They were based in Cape Town for the duration of the competition and won their opening match, beating the Eastern Province Kings 17–10.[4] However, they lost their remaining six matches to finish in seventh spot in the Southern Section.

This preparation aided them in the 2014 Africa Cup as they won their first two games, beating both Madagascar and Namibia, only to lose to Zimbabwe on the last match day. Kenya finished in third position on points difference.

In 2015, they played a European team for the first time since the East Africa sides of the 1970s and 1980s, defeating Portugal 41-15.

Record

Top 25 rankings as on 1 November 2015[5]
Rank Change* Team Points
1  New Zealand 96.10
2  Australia 89.33
3  South Africa 87.66
4  Wales 83.49
5  Argentina 82.59
6  Ireland 81.17
7  France 79.77
8  England 79.77
9  Scotland 77.94
10  Japan 77.05
11  Fiji 76.96
12  Italy 72.74
13  Tonga 71.60
14  Georgia 71.45
15  Samoa 70.36
16  United States 68.66
17  Romania 66.59
18  Canada 62.65
19  Uruguay 62.11
20  Namibia 61.75
21  Spain 61.54
22  Russia 61.10
23  Chile 57.34
24  Hong Kong 57.31
25  South Korea 56.70
*Change from the previous week
Against Played Won Lost Drawn For Against % Won
 Arabian Gulf
4
2
2
0
66
141
50
 Brazil
1
1
0
0
27
25
100
 Botswana
1
1
0
0
80
9
100
 Ivory Coast
1
1
0
0
20
17
100
 Cameroon
4
4
0
0
156
55
100
 Hong Kong
1
0
1
0
17
44
0
 Madagascar
4
1
2
1
91
84
25
 Morocco
3
1
2
0
37
74
33.33
 Namibia
8
2
6
0
145
390
25
 Nigeria
1
1
0
0
96
3
100
 Portugal
1
1
0
0
41
15
100
 Senegal
1
1
0
0
22
7
100
 Spain
1
1
0
0
36
27
100
 Tunisia
8
5
3
0
187
210
62.5
 United Arab Emirates
1
1
0
0
55
17
100
 Uganda
26
16
9
1
556
408
61.54
 Zambia
3
2
1
0
62
43
66.67
 Zimbabwe
18
5
13
0
302
519
27.78
Total 87 46 39 2 1996 2088 52.87

World Cup Record

World Cup record World Cup Qualification record
Year Round P W D L F A P W D L F A
1987 Not invited -
1991 Did not enter Did not enter
1995 Did not qualify 3 1 0 2 40 125
1999 Did not qualify 2 1 0 1 42 70
2003 Did not qualify 2 1 0 1 60 42
2007 Did not qualify 6 3 1 2 111 191
2011 Did not qualify 2 1 0 1 91 52
2015 Did not qualify 5 4 0 1 153 178
2019 To be determined To be determined
Total 0/8 0 0 0 0 0 0 32 23 2 7 1138 568

Africa Cup Record

Current Squad

Kenya squad for the 2015 Africa Cup match against Zimbabwe.

Recent Results

Kenya competes annually against Uganda for the Elgon Cup, as well as competing for the Africa Cup.

In 2015, Kenya was given two test matches against ENC 1A sides as well as facing Namibia, Zimbabwe and Tunisia; Kenya sent an "A" squad to face Uganda in the 2015 edition of the Elgon Cup.

2015 Summer Internationals

Elgon Cup 2015

Africa Cup 2015

Notable players

  • African Leopards Representatives
    • Innocent Simiyu (versus South African Students 2005 and British Army Senior XV 2006)
    • Dan Weku (versus British Army Senior2006 XV and French Under 20 2007)
    • Derrick Wamalwa (versus French Under 20 2007)

Notes

  1. ^ The first match for both Kenya and Tanzania (Tanganyika at the time) took place in 1954 at Arusha. It was held shortly before the First Tuskers Copperbelt tour later that year and served as a selection trial for the tour. This match was won by Kenya though the exact score is not known. The next year the fixture was repeated, again at Arusha, Tanganyika winning by 11 points to 3. The third match occurred a year later in 1956, again at Arusha; Kenya winning this encounter 0-13.

See also

References

  • Campbell, M; Cohen, E.J. (1960). Rugby Football in East Africa 1909-1959. Rugby Football Union of East Africa. 
  1. ^ Campbell (1960) pp41
  2. ^ "About Us - Kenya Rugby Union". Kenya Rugby Union. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "The Early Days of Kenya Rugby". KenyaPage.Net. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Match Breakdown: Tusker Simba XV vs Eastern Province Kings". South African Rugby Union. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "World Rankings". World Rugby. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 

External links

  • Kenya Rugby Football Union : KRFU official website
  • Rugby International
  • Report of Kenya-Cameroon Game