Kenya lined up as Champions Match opponents

Sevens favourites Kenya will show off their growing ambition in the fifteens game after being confirmed as the inaugural opponents in next month’s Champions Match – to face the best of South African domestic rugby.

The East African nation – ever popular at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens – will meet the Champion Team, consisting of players selected by fans from any of the seven Currie Cup Premier Division teams.

The match is a bold initiative between Carling Black Label, sponsor of the Currie Cup, and SA Rugby who have joined forces with the intention of recognising and rewarding the champion voices of rugby fans – who will play selector for the match.

And now African ‘neighbours’ Kenya have accepted the invitation for the showdown at Loftus Versfeld on 6 November 2021.

“The Kenya Rugby Union [KRU] is greatly honoured by the invitation by Saru to participate in the Champions Match in Pretoria,” said Oduor Gangla, chairman of the Kenya Rugby Union.

“This will be an excellent opportunity for the Simbas to play against top-notch professional opponents even as we prepare for the international Test matches coming up. The experience of such matches is truly priceless as we prepare for the Rugby World Cup qualifiers next year.

“We are very grateful to Carling and Saru for granting us this unique invitation and look forward to an exciting start to our international window matches.”

Fans still have time to vote for the Curie Cup players they want to see featured in the Champion team.

As the match falls in the international window and a break in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, players from the four teams competing in the tournament are also available for selection.

“We’re delighted that our friends from Kenya have accepted the invitation,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

“The pandemic and our inclusion in the United Rugby Championship presented a few challenges and it has been a champion effort all round to arrive at this day. It’s great to have a fellow African rugby nation marking the inauguration of an event that we hope to see grow as the calendar settles down and fans return in due course.”

Fans were advised that the next major announcement would be the unveiling of the Champion Team coaching and management lineup.

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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Dylan Jack