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Uganda Could Host Rugby Africa Women’s 15s Test Match

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Rugby Africa has released its Competitions Calendar for 2021 with the hope of a potentially exciting year across the continent after 2020 became a damper on all our plans.

One of the six regional associations of World Rugby, Rugby Africa will stage five annual competitions across the continent which will include the Rugby Africa Cup, the U20 Barthés Trophy, the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup alias Africa Women’s 15s, Africa Women’s Sevens and Africa Men’s Sevens.

The Rugby Africa Women’s Cup alias Africa Women’s 15s will be held in July with each host union hosting a Women’s 15s test match between them and a visiting or neighbouring country.

In this case Uganda could host its neighbors and perennial rivals Kenya in Kampala or vice versa.

‘This year, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda and Tunisia are likely to emerge as the host teams, but the real prize goes to the winning teams, who can look forward to a fully revived Women’s 15s in 2022,’ Maha Zaoui, Women’s Rugby Manager said via Rugby Africa press release.

Still in July, the RAC Pools kicks off with four pools of three teams each playing a round-robin tournament at a single venue per pool. The best two teams from each pool qualify for RAC 2022, which serves as the final round of the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifier for Africa.

The Africa Men & Women 7s World Cup pre-qualifiers will run through August and September in four regional tournaments, with men and women’s tournaments hosted in the same venue, on the same dates.

However, the first highlight on Rugby Africa’s calendar is the U20 Barthés Trophy 2021, which kicks off in Nairobi from 25 March – 4 April. Kenya, Nairobi, Senegal, and Madagascar will take part with the winner set to qualify for the Junior World Trophy tournament organised by World Rugby, set for September.

In May, attention turns to West Africa for the Rugby Africa Cup repechage, a qualifier for the 12th slot in the Rugby Africa Cup Pools 2021. Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Eswatini, Mauritius, Morocco (pending suspension review) Nigeria and Rwanda are all eligible for the big draw.

As a safety precaution measure, all tournaments have fall back options. Fall back dates will also help in mitigating any disruptions or delays.

“To ensure the safety and wellbeing of our athletes, officials, and volunteers, we will work closely with our Medical Advisory Committee, our Unions and local authorities to monitor the situation and take appropriate steps, Khaled Babbou, President of Rugby Africa noted.

Rugby Africa Vice President Andrew Owor notes that with the first round of competitions potentially kicking off in March, teams are already preparing, and by all accounts both unions and players are thrilled at the opportunity to participate in the game.

‘With the season cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, we look forward to our players returning to the field and advancing the sport and their athletic prowess. We understand that the ongoing pandemic may result in tournaments being postponed or cancelled at short notice, therefore dates are tentative, and we have also allocated ‘fall back’ dates to mitigate any disruptions or delays,’  Owor revealed.

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