By: AYUMBA AYODI
Two times Safari Sevens champions Shujaa have been seeded first at this year’s competition that starts on Saturday at Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani.
Shujaa, who won the 2000 and 2013 titles, will take on South Africa’s Western Province, debutantes Italy and Burundi, who replaced Ghana in Pool A.
Shujaa won Plate last year beating Australia Metro 17-14 in the final.
Debuntates England Saxons headline Pool B where they will take on Spain, first timers Brazil and Zambia.
Pool C features Samurai International, regular participants Zimbabwe, who have reached the finals twice, Kenya’s other side Morans and familiar Uganda.
“Even though we have trained for only two sessions, we shall give our best,” said Samurai manager Terry Sands. Samurai, who feature several Kenyans, reached the final in 1998 and 2011 where they lost to Bristol University Select 33-7 and Samoa 31-12 respectively.
The Australian Iconz, who are making their second return, will engage Portugal, Namibia and the Newcastle Wailers. Welsh Warriors beat Argentina 24-17 to lift the title last year.
Australian Iconz lost in the Plate semi-final to compatriots Auckland Metro 7-38.
Tournament director Godwin Karuga indicated yesterday that defending champions Welsh Warriors will not be coming for the championship.
READY FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP
“We are ready for this year’s championships despite some withdraw,” said Karuga.
The Veterans championship will kick off this year’s Safari Sevens at the Impala Sports Club grounds on Friday.
Impala, who have won the title for the last three years, will take on Kenya Harlequin, Kenya Commercial Bank, Les Gaulois and a festival side in the round robin contest that starts at 7pm.
Tickets for the tournament went on sale on Wednesday and are available at all Nairobi Sports House outlets, the Kenya Rugby Union secretariat on Ngong Road as well as the Nyayo Stadium accounts office.
Tickets will also be available at Kasarani on both match days.