Kenya Simbas will face Romania in build up match in Bucharest in early November.
Romania are ranked 17th in the world rankings and are one of the emerging sides in Europe. They have played at all the previous eight Rugby World Cups.
They will, however, not contest next year’s World Cup after Spain and Belgium were found guilty of fielding ineligible players in multiple qualifier, which led to their ban and points deduction.
The match will be staged a week before the Simbas head to Marseille, France for the repechage, where they will face Canada, Hong Kong and Germany.
In a statement sent from the Kenya Ruby Union, Ian Snook’s charges play British Army on October 17, Namibia (October 21) and Loftus 200, a semi professional side from South Africa’s Blue Bulls on October 28. These fixtures will be played in Nairobi.
Assistant coach, Dominique Habimana, has welcomed the build-up matches which he said will be key in ensuring Kenya goes to the repechage in the best possible shape. “It’s good news for the team as it will be high intensity matches before we play the repechage. It will give us the best possible opportunity to qualify for the Rugby World Cup next year in Japan,” added Habimana.
The team resumed training last week for the repechage with four Kenya Sevens players being called up to the side to bolster the team. Former Kenya Sevens’ skipper Andrew Amonde, winger Nelson Oyoo, utility back Dennis Ombachi and half back Sammy Oliech were fused in the team to strengthen the squad ahead of the repchage.
Oliech and Amonde have previous experience playing for the Simbas before and have already settled in the side alongside Kenya Sevens stalwart Willy Ambaka who scored twice against Namibia and twice against Tunisia last month. Former Simbas skipper Wilson K’Opondo is in the 33-man squad for the repechage after missing the Africa Gold Cup cum Rugby World Cup qualifiers. The winner of the repechage qualifies for the Rugby World Cup Pool ‘B’ where they will meet champions New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia and Italy.