- The Kenya Simbas are currently in South Africa
- They will play two games at home in June
- These will be the last matches ahead of the World Cup qualifiers
The RFUEA Ground on Ngong Road will host two matches of the Currie Cup in June, the Kenya Rugby Union has announced. The national 15s team, Simbas, which is currently in South Africa, will play against Leopards and Eastern Province Elephants.
These two matches will be the final build-up games for Paul Odera’s men as they prepare to play in the World Cup qualifiers which are scheduled for Paris, France.
“We did mention to SARU that it would be good for the Currie Cup and Kenya Rugby if we could have some of our matches in Nairobi and after deliberation with both Leopards Rugby Union and Eastern Province Rugby Union, we all agreed to have games in Nairobi. We are glad as it also an opportunity for Kenyan fans to watch the Simbas before they head off to the Rugby World Cup qualifiers,” said Kenya Rugby Union boss Oduor Gangla.
The Simbas have so far played three matches at the Currie Cup in South Africa, losing all of them. They were beaten 66-33 by Griffons in their third match over the weekend.
Scrumhalf Samuel Asati landed a brace with full-back Andrew Matoka, lock Thomas Okeyo, and replacement scrum-half Brian Wahinya all touching down once as fly-half Geoffrey Ominde added in four conversions.
With two games being played at home, head coach Paul Odera is optimistic that it will offer the team a perfect opportunity to pick morale boosting victories ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.
“It is a touching moment for me to see that Eastern Province is one of the provinces that will make history when they play in the Currie Cup in Nairobi,” said Kenya Simbas head coach Paul Odera.
He added; “The last three weeks in South Africa when we have played in the Currie Cup. I am sure that a lot of rugby administrators are now coming to realize that the gap between a Tier 1 nation like South Africa, and a Tier 3 nation like Kenya is a lot more than they imagined. Frankly, there is nowhere for us to hide over the next month and a half. Every sector of the team is being tested and put under pressure on a weekly basis,” the coach added.
Leopards and Eastern Province are both excited to be playing in Nairobi and both are looking to soak in the experience as well as a good outing on the field.
“We don’t get many opportunities as first division teams to play against international teams. This is a huge opportunity for the Leopards. There is a lot of excitement from our Union to come and play Kenya in Nairobi. It will be an absolute experience for my players. Hopefully this will be a lasting relationship with Kenya Rugby, and hopefully Kenya Rugby can stay in our competition,” said Eugene Fourie, Leopards CEO.
Fourie’s sentiments were echoed by Eastern Province Rugby CEO Thando Manana.
“It is such an honor that your team is currently participating with us in the Currie Cup, and they can only grow from that. Little did we know that the inclusion of Kenya, Georgia and Zimbabwe in this year’s competition would create excitement,” he said.
The two fixtures in Nairobi were made possible following a commercial agreement with Direct Sports Management (DSM).